Turkey astrovirus (TAstV) is an important agent of poult enteritis. The diagnosis of astroviruses has been dependent mainly on electron microscopy (EM) or immune EM (IEM). To develop other simple, rapid, and reliable diagnostic assays, two antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (AC-ELISAs), polyclonal AC-ELISA and monoclonal AC-ELISA, were developed in this study. Monoplex and multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCRs) were also developed using nondegenerate primer sets specific to the capsid region and degenerate primer pairs specific to the polymerase area of two TAstV. EM was included for comparison. Fecal or intestinal contents samples from naturally and experimentally infected poults with enteritis were examined using the developed assays. The polyclonal AC-ELISA had higher sensitivity and wider detection spectrum than the monoclonal AC-ELISA with group-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb), whereas the monoclonal AC-ELISA had very high specificity but lower sensitivity, which was estimated at 0.06 μg of viral proteins. Small round viruses (SRV) that could be astroviruses or other small viruses were detected in 34.4% of the samples examined by EM. The monoplex RT-PCR results amplified with primers SRV-1-3 and SRV-1-5 revealed that the positive rate of astroviruses was 45.3%, which was 10.9% higher than that of EM even if other SRVs were not excluded. Multiplex RT-PCR with SRV-1-3 and SRV-1-5 and AFCP-F1 and AFCP-R1 and the monoplex RT-PCR with degenerate primers verified that the positive rate of astroviruses was 59.4%, which was 25% higher than that of EM. Both RT-PCRs showed good specificity and wider detection spectrum compared with earlier published data.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2