Chronological analysis of gross and histological lesions induced by field strains of fowl adenovirus serotypes 1, 8b and 11 in one-day-old chickens
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Fowl adenoviruses (FAdVs) cause diseases in domestic chickens, including inclusion body hepatitis (IBH), with immunosuppression believed to play a role in their pathogenesis. To gain a better understanding of the pathogenesis and chronology of disease caused by FAdVs, the gross pathology, histopathology and dissemination of virus were examined at several different time points, after inoculation of one-day-old specific pathogen-free chickens with FAdV-1, FAdV-8b or FAdV-11 via the ocular route. FAdV-8b had a slightly greater virulence than FAdV-11, but both were primary pathogens. The presence and severity of hepatic lesions were used to define the three stages of the disease: incubation (1–3 days post-inoculation, PI), degeneration (4–7 days PI) and convalescence (14 days PI). Both viruses were detected in the liver, kidney, bursa, thymus and gizzard of most birds during the degenerative stage, and persisted in the gizzard into convalescence. The FAdV-1 isolate was found to be apathogenic, but virus was detected in the bursa and/or gizzard of several birds between 2 and 7 days PI. This is the first study examining the chronology of gross and microscopic lesions of pathogenic and apathogenic FAdVs in association with viral presence in multiple tissues. It was concluded that both FAdV-8b and FAdV-11 are primary pathogens, and that these strains may play a role in immunosuppression.