Respiratory infections are a common cause for increased mortality rates in poultry worldwide. To improve intervention strategies, circulating pathogens have to be identified and further characterized. Because of the lack of diagnostic tools, it was not known what pathogens contribute to the high mortality rates in association with respiratory disease in Algeria. Our objective was to determine if primary pathogens including Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), Mycoplasma synoviae (MS), avian influenza virus (AIV), infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), and avian metapneumovirus (aMPV), known to be present in neighboring countries, can also be detected in Algerian chicken and turkey flocks. Results demonstrate the circulation of the investigated pathogens in Algerian poultry flocks as multi-infections. Phylogenetic characterization of the Algerian IBV strains confirmed the circulation of nephropathogenic viruses that are different from the strains isolated in neighboring countries. This could suggest the existence of a new IBV genotype in North Africa. Additionally, we detected for the first time an aMPV subtype B field strain and avian influenza virus. Interestingly, all viral pathogens were present in co-infections with MG, which could exacerbate clinical disease. Additional pathogens may be present and should be investigated in the future. Our results suggest that multiple respiratory infections may be responsible for high mortality in Algerian poultry flocks and very probably also in other regions of the world, which demonstrates the need for the establishment of more comprehensive control strategies.
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Vol. 59 • No. 3