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Molecular characterization and genetic diversity of the infectious laryngotracheitis virus strains circulating in Egypt during the outbreaks of 2018 and 2019

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Abstract

Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) is a respiratory disease that causes significant economic losses in the poultry industry worldwide. In this study, ILT outbreaks were reported on 30 farms located in eight Egyptian governorates between January 2018 and May 2019. Gross examination of diseased chickens revealed congestion and hemorrhage of laryngeal and tracheal mucosa with fibrinohemorrhagic casts and/or caseous material in the lumens. Histopathological examination showed epithelial sloughing, syncytium formation, heterophilic exudation, and development of eosinophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies. Infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) antigen was detected in the tracheal epithelium, infiltrated inflammatory cells, and syncytial cells, using immunohistochemistry. PCR targeting a portion of the thymidine kinase gene was further utilized to confirm the presence of ILTV DNA. The complete coding sequences of three envelope glycoprotein genes, gG, gD, and gJ, and a partial sequence of the infected cell polypeptide 4 (ICP4) gene from samples representing all of the farms and disease outbreaks were determined. Five prototype strains with unique sequences were chosen for detailed molecular characterization. Sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analysis of the partial ICP4 gene revealed that two strains were chicken embryo origin (CEO)-vaccine-like strains, and three were tissue culture origin (TCO)-vaccine-like strains. Analysis of the gJ gene sequence indicated that all of the strains were CEO vaccine-like strains. It was predicted that the latter three strains were recombinants of CEO- and TCO-vaccine-like strains. In conclusion, immunohistochemistry coupled with multi-genomic PCR sequencing proved to be efficient for identification and typing of ILTV strains during disease outbreaks. Both CEO-vaccine-like and recombinant virus strains were circulating in Egypt during the 2018 and 2019 outbreaks.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all colleagues and co-workers in the Virology and Pathology departments of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt, for their technical support.

Author information

Conceptualization: ME-M, EES and HA. Methodology: MB and ME-S. Formal analysis and investigation: HA, MB, EES, and ME-M. Writing – original draft preparation: MB and ME-S. Writing – review and editing: HA, MB, EES, and ME-M. Resources: ME-S and MB. Supervision: MB, EES, and ME-M.

Correspondence to Mahmoud Bayoumi.

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Bayoumi, M., El-Saied, M., Amer, H. et al. Molecular characterization and genetic diversity of the infectious laryngotracheitis virus strains circulating in Egypt during the outbreaks of 2018 and 2019. Arch Virol (2020) doi:10.1007/s00705-019-04522-4

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