The course of turkey coronavirus (TCoV) infection in young turkey poults was examined using a field isolate (TCoV-MG10) from a diarrhoeal disease outbreak on a commercial turkey farm in Ontario, Canada. Two-day-old and 28-day-old poults were inoculated orally with TCoV-MG10 to examine the effect of age on viral shedding and serum antibody responses to the virus. The presence of coronavirus particles measuring 105.8±21.8 nm in the cloacal contents was confirmed using transmission electron microscopy. The pattern of cloacal TCoV shedding was examined by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction amplification of the nucleocapsid gene fragment. TCoV serum antibody responses were assessed with two recently developed TCoV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays that used TCoV nucleocapsid and S1 polypeptides as coating antigens. Poults were found equally susceptible to TCoV infection at 2 days of age and at 4 weeks of age, and turkeys of either age shed virus in their faeces starting as early as 1 day post-inoculation and up to 17 days post-inoculation. Poults infected at 2 days of age were immunologically protected against subsequent challenge at 20 days post-inoculation. The protection was associated with measurable serum antibody responses to both the nucleocapsid and S1 structural proteins of TCoV that were detectable as early as 1 week post-infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)