Original Article

Infectious bronchitis virus infections of chickens in Belgium: an epidemiological survey

  • P. De Herdt
  • M. De Gussem
  • S. Van Gorp
  • R. Currie


Between April 2012 and July 2015, cloacal and/or tracheal swab samples were collected from four hundred and twenty-four Belgian chicken broiler, breeder and layer flocks. All flocks were kept for production purposes and presented clinical signs suggestive of an infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) infection. The samples were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) to detect the presence of ribonucleic acid (RNA) of IBV. When positive, approximately four hundred base pairs (bp) encoding for the hypervariable region of the IBV S1 protein were sequenced. Sequencing results, cycle threshold (Ct) values and vaccination history were used as criteria to try and distinguish vaccine strains from field strains. Of all samples examined, 22.4% was negative. In 16.4% of the samples that did contain RNA from IBV, the genotype could not be determined. In most cases, this was due to the recovery of RNA quantities below the lower limit of detection of the sequencing PCR. The remaining positive submissions predominantly revealed RNA from IBV strains that belonged to the 4/91–793B (46.8%), D388–QX (25.2%), D274-D207 (5.8%) and Massachusetts (4.0%) genotypes. Estimations indicated that approximately 58%, 11%, 37% and 46% of these detections, respectively, were vaccine strains. Infections with types CK/CH/Guandong/Xindadi/0903, Ukr/27/2011, NGA/295/2006 and Q1 were observed sporadically. The results indicate that IBV infections are highly prevalent in Belgian chickens and that at least eight different IBV types were circulating during the monitored period. This underlines the necessity of providing flocks with a strong and broad protective immunity against IBV.

How to Cite:

De Herdt, P., De Gussem, M., Van Gorp, S. & Currie, R., (2016) “Infectious bronchitis virus infections of chickens in Belgium: an epidemiological survey”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 85(5), 285-290. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/vdt.v85i5.16319

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Published on
27 Oct 2016
Peer Reviewed