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Borna virus (ABV)
is the causative agent of Borna disease. Borna disease virus (BDV) is
a negative-stranded neurotropic RNA virus. A neurotropic virus is a virus
which can infect nerve cells, or which does so preferentially. A few commonly
known neurotropic viruses are Rabies, Herpes virus, Poliovirus, and Japanese
Bornavirus was first described in psittaciforms in 2008 by researchers
at UCSF who were studying a group of five parrots suffering from Proventricular
Dilatation Disease (PDD). Using microarray technology, the group isolated
a negative-stranded RNA virus from three of the five birds. This virus
was determined to be a member of the Bornaviridae family. The researchers
named the avian strain 'Avian Bornavirus' (ABV).
New research confirms that cloacal swabs and fecal samples are not a reliable source of ABV RNA due to the inconsistent shedding of the virus and destructive forces like bacteria, enzymes and other contaminants found in the feces. This results in an unacceptable percentage of false negatives by PCR.
ABV has been found in samples from countries in Europe, Asia, African and South America.
ABV is also being studied as a possible causitive agent of conditions such as skin inflammation, feather plucking, self mutilation, major neurological problems, and chronic bacterial and fungal infections.
In May 2010, we recieved feather samples from 6 birds who are chronic feather pluckers. 5 of the 6 birds tested positive for ABV by rtPCR using feather samples. None of these birds were suffering from any weight problems as observed by the vetrinarian treating them.
Bornavirus transmission is not well understood. Bornavirus is thought to be primarily transferred from one individual to another through direct or intimate contact, or by exposure to infected fecal material. Avian Biotech is currently studying ABV transmission from an infected female to an egg and performing testing to determine embryonic infection of ABV. Additional work is being done to study ABV-specific antibody levels in the yolk of an egg laid by an infected bird. ABI is also studying cellular transmission and variations in specific ABV protein expression from one individual to another.
Signs suggestive of PDD include weight loss over a period of weeks to
months despite a good appetite, passage of undigested food, vomiting,
abdominal distention, and impaction of the crop and proventriculus.
It is also important to note that in many cases birds infected with ABV may not develop any symptoms of ABD or PDD for years or even decades before the onset of disease. It is still unknown if a percentage of birds may never develop any symptoms of disease but may continue to function as a reservoir for ABV and allow the virus to infect other birds.
In 2010 ABI began testing a sub-unit vaccine to prevent the spread of the disease and the results are looking very promising.
To disinfect areas that may have been contaminated by bornavirus, use an oxidizer solution such as diluted bleach: 50 parts water to 1 part bleach, plus a small amount of dish soap as a wetting agent.
There are no known treatments for ABV infections. ABI is looking forward to conducting experimental treatments using ABI's own parrot-specific gamma and alpha interferon, as well as combining these cytokins with specific anti-viral drugs. Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD
Complete ABV/PDD panel!!
Two methods of identifying ABV infection are available at ABI: serology
(rELISA) which tests for immunological exposure to specific ABV antigens,
and direct rtPCR which detects the presence of ABV-specific RNA. Our
complete ABV panel includes both the rtPCR and the ELISA panel.
ABV ELISA panel
consists of 4 AVB-specific proteins (P40, P24, P29, and matrix).
A small serum sample is required for the rELISA panel.
Cloacal or vent swabs as well as fecal samples are not recommended for routine screening due to the intermittent shedding of the virus, as well as bacterial and enzymatic degradation, that greatly reduce the reliability of this sample type. Because of the neurotropic nature of the virus, blood is also not recommended for rtPCR.
For postmortem detection of ABV RNA, samples from the brain, proventricular tissue, or crop biopsies stored in alcohol are preferred.
Animal Genetics' latest publication on ABV was submitted for publication to the Journal of Veterinarian Diagnostic Investigation. Our research paper describes current methods used by Animal Genetics for detection of ABV. This paper also demonstrates the effectiveness of testing for ABV from feathers, and compares the reliability of a feather sample with a cloacal swab and serum sample.
Serum samples are currently accepted for ELISA. However, fecal samples and blood cards are being evaluated and could become an alternative sample for ELISA. Cloacal swabs are not considered an reliable source for ABV RNA and should not be submitted by them selfs for rtPCR. Due to the neurotropic nature of the virus, the calamus of 4-8 plucked chest or breast feathers provides the best source of viral RNA for screening of birds infected with ABV.
Postmortem testing requires a small brain tissue sample placed in alcohol. Detailed information has been submitted for publication in the "Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation". Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD)
Samples should be submitted by overnight or two day air.
|Limitations:|| Because of mutations
occurring in ABV genome, it may be difficult to detect all subtypes.
Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD
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