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Isolation and characterization of a Chinese strain of Tembusu virus from Hy-Line Brown layers with acute egg-drop syndrome in Fujian, China

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Tembusu virus (TMUV) has been a causative agent of an acute egg-drop syndrome found in Chinese duck populations since at least 2010. In this paper, we report the characterization of a TMUV-like flavivirus (named CJD05) isolated from naturally infected egg-laying fowl. The virus was identified and then isolated from hens suffering from severe egg drop and fever in Fujian Province, China. The virus replicated well in MDEF and CEF cells, and its cytopathogenic effect (CPE) was apparent. Hemagglutinating activity (HA) was negative for this virus using erythrocytes from both chickens and pigeons. Viral particles were enveloped and approximately 45 nm in diameter, as observed by electron microscopy. Phylogenetic analysis of the full-length nucleotide sequence of CJD05 indicated that this virus is closely related to the duck-origin TMUV, belonging to Ntaya group of flavivirus. Most importantly, pathogenicity studies showed that CJD05 is highly virulent in 1-day-old chicks, 1-day-old Muscovy ducks, egg-laying chickens and shelducks. Our research highlights the increase in epidemic disease caused by avian TMUV, and subsequent outbreaks are becoming more complicated to treat. The pathogenic mechanisms of the virus are still not fully understood, further research is needed.

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The authors thank Prof. Shao Liangping, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, CHN, for his insightful revisions of the manuscript. This study was funded by the National High-Tech Research and Development Projects (863) (grant no.2011AA10A209), National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31172334), Fujian Public Project (grant no. 2011R1025-2), and Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences Innovation Team (grant no.STIF-Y02).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Shaoying Chen.

Additional information

S. Chen and S. Wang contributed equally to this work.

Nucleotide sequence data reported are available in the DDBJ/EMBL/ GenBank databases under the accession number JF926699.2

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Chen, S., Wang, S., Li, Z. et al. Isolation and characterization of a Chinese strain of Tembusu virus from Hy-Line Brown layers with acute egg-drop syndrome in Fujian, China. Arch Virol 159, 1099–1107 (2014).

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