Hepatitis hydropericardium syndrome (HHS) is an acute infectious disease caused by fowl adenovirus serotype-4 (FAdV-4), which mainly affects broilers aged 4–5 wk. During the winter of January 2021, a 32-day-old broiler flock (Cobb-500) suffered from unusually high mortality (15%) in the Alexandria Governorate, Egypt. The chickens showed depression, ruffled feathers, and greenish diarrhea besides the typical pathologic features of suspected HHS involving flabby hearts, accumulation of a straw-colored fluid in the pericardial sacs, and pale, enlarged hemorrhagic and friable livers with necrotic foci. The kidneys exhibited edema with uric acid depositions. Histopathologic examination of bird livers naturally infected with HHS showed multifocal areas of necrosis, vascular changes, and basophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies (INIB) in the hepatocytes. Molecular identification of the causative agent was accomplished by PCR and sequence analysis of the hyper-variable regions of loop 1 of the hexon gene of fowl aviadenovirus. A pathogenic strain of the novel genotype-4 (FAdV-4) was demonstrated, closely similar to the Israeli strain IS/1905/2019, with an identity of 98%. This is the first report to identify FADV-4 in Egypt, prompting further studies to elucidate its epidemiologic role in all poultry sectors and associated economic losses to provide insights to its control and prevention.
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Vol. 65 • No. 3