Myocarditis associated with reovirus in turkey poults

08-03-2010 | |

Researchers from the University of California in the US found that Myocarditis is associated with reovirus in turkey poults.

These findings are based on virus isolation, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), demonstration of reovirus antigen in the cytoplasm of mononuclear inflammatory cells and myocytes in the heart by immunohistochemistry (IHC), and reovirus particles in the endoplasmic reticulum of myocytes by transmission electron microscopy (TEM).


Clinical signs in the poults included anorexia, growth depression, and increased mortality. Gross lesions in the six poults examined were increased pericardial fluid, mild-to-moderate dilation of right ventricles, pale-yellow myocardium, and ascites. Other lesions in a few birds included mild pulmonary edema, congestion, and pale serosa of the small intestine that had watery contents in their lumens. Microscopically, in the heart, there was mild-to-severe necrosis of myocytes and infiltration of primarily lymphocytes mixed with a few heterophils, macrophages, and occasionally, plasma cells and multinucleated giant cells. There was mild-to-moderate lymphoid depletion in the bursa of Fabricius. Reovirus was isolated from the heart of the turkey poults in chicken-embryo liver cells and was confirmed by RT-PCR, IHC, and TEM.


A retrospective search of the laboratory database for cases of myocarditis associated with reovirus in turkeys revealed that this condition has occurred sporadically in California turkey flocks since 1991. This is the first documentation of myocarditis in turkey poults associated with reovirus.

This research has been published in Avian Diseases [2009 Dec;53(4):523-32].

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist
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