Molecular characterization of chicken infectious anemia virus from contaminated live-virus vaccines

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The aim of this study was to investigate possible causes of the pervasiveness of chicken infectious anemia virus (CIAV) infection in chickens in recent years in China. A total of 14 batches of live-virus vaccines were examined using PCR to detect CIAV contamination, of which only 2 samples (a Newcastle disease vaccine and a fowl pox vaccine) tested positive for CIAV. These Newcastle and fowl pox vaccines were then inoculated into 1-day-old specific-pathogen-free chickens. Serum samples were collected from chickens infected with the PCR-positive vaccines, and these tested positive for CIAV-specific antibodies as tested using ELISA. In addition, DNA samples isolated from the serum samples also tested positive by PCR. The results indicated that the samples were contaminated with CIAV and identified 2 exogenous CIAV strains, designated CIAV-N22 and CIAV-F10, in the respective samples. The full genome sequences of these novel CIAV strains were sequenced and analyzed. Phylogenetic tree analysis indicated that the CIAV-F10 strain might represent a recombinant viral strain arising from the parental CIAV strains JQ690762 and KJ728816. Overall, the results suggested that vaccination with CIAV-contaminated vaccines contributed to the prevalence and spread of CIAV infection in chickens. Furthermore, the CIAV contaminant was likely subsequently transmitted to commercial chickens through congenital transmission. Our findings therefore highlight the need for more extensive screening of live-virus vaccines for poultry in China to reduce the threat of contamination with exogenous viruses.

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