European IB survey reveals variations

Research sampling of infectious bronchitis (IB) field strains across Europe has revealed a variety of strains prevalent from 2002 to 2007 with distinct differences between countries: The work was conducted on behalf of Fort Dodge Animal Health by Liverpool University in the United Kingdom (UK).

The most common strain detected between 2002 and 2004 was Italy-02. It was particularly dominant in the UK, France and Spain. Since 2004, a novel strain, QX-like (L1148/D388), has emerged. It was most common in Germany and Benelux in 2004 and in France from 2006. Since 2006, a re-emergence of the D1466 strain has been detected in layers and breeders across Europe.

Graph: Occurrence of the different strains changes substantially over time 

This research provides a comprehensive picture about the field situation of IB throughout Europe and raises concerns about some existing vaccines because they may not offer protection against novel strains. The recurrence of the D1466 strain is significant because it is different from other strains and existing live vaccines again do not offer protection.

Fort Dodge undertook the research using 5000 flocks of poultry across Europe. It plans to build on this study by issuing a quarterly update Quarterly Fort Dodge IB Index to help the poultry industry access the latest disease risk assessment information and plan for appropriate control measures, including vaccination, based on the level of risk.

IB is the most common and significant endemic respiratory disease of chickens. It is an acute, highly contagious disease affecting chickens of all ages, caused by an avian coronavirus. The disease is of economic importance as it causes poor weight gain and feed efficiency in growing birds and egg production declines steeply in laying birds. Secondary infections may follow. The disease is spread by air, feed bags, infected dead birds, infected houses and rodents. Infected birds excrete the virus in the faeces for several weeks following clinical recovery.

Fort Dodge Animal Health