Infectious bursal disease (IBD) is a worldwide distributed immunosuppressive viral disease in young chickens, controlled by vaccination. Emergence of several strains of IBD virus (IBDV) has created a demand for strain-specific diagnostic tools. In the present experiment, five different reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays, including two recently developed strain-specific assays, were employed for detection of ribonucleic acid (RNA) from three different IBDV strains in bursa tissue samples from experimentally infected specific pathogen free chickens. The virus strains included vaccine strain D78, classical strain Faragher 52/70, and the very virulent Danish strain DK01. The presence of the virus infection was confirmed by histopathologic evaluation of bursa lesions. The largest number of positive samples was obtained with a strain-specific two-step multiplex (MPX) RT-PCR assay based on iScript enzyme, and the commercially available Qiagen one-step RT-PCR. Between these methods, agreement was obtained for 57 of 59 samples. Because the Qiagen one-step RT-PCR assay was suggested as the more sensitive of these two assays, it was used for detection of IBDV in bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and cecal tonsils from experimentally infected chickens. The identity of the virus strains involved was confirmed by MPX RT-PCR. In conclusion, the MPX RT-PCR represented a reliable assay for detection and differentiation of IBDV strains in selected lymphoid tissues of chickens. All three of the IBDV strains used were detected in bursa tissues, whereas only the two virulent strains were detected in bone marrow, spleen, and thymus.
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Vol. 49 • No. 4