Minneapolis-A vaccine developed by a University of Minnesota (UM) scientist, in collaboration with scientists of Biomune Company, to protect turkeys from a severe respiratory disease caused by avian pneumovirus, has been recently approved by the United ...
Minneapolis-A vaccine developed by a University of Minnesota (UM) scientist, in collaboration with scientists of Biomune Company, to protect turkeys from a severe respiratory disease caused by avian pneumovirus, has been recently approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for sale in the Midwest. The vaccine is now available to turkey growers in Minnesota, the largest turkey producing state in the country, as well as North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
"This disease spreads quickly through turkey flocks and is devastatingto turkey growers in Minnesota, costing them roughly $15 million dollarsa year," says Sagar M. Goyal, professor in UM's College of VeterinaryMedicine. "We knew isolating the virus was the first step toward developinga vaccine, and that's exactly what we did." Through funding from theMinnesota Turkey Research and Promotions Council and from the Rapid AgriculturalResponse Fund, Goyal began working on the vaccine. "We isolated thevirus from diseased turkeys in 1997 and almost immediately began the processof weakening the virus for the purposes of developing a live vaccine againstthis disease." The results of this study are published in the August2002 issue of Avian Pathology.
The respiratory disease was first discovered in South Africa in 1978and spread to European countries by the mid-1980s. Cases in the United Stateswere detected in flocks in Colorado in 1996, and the following year thedisease had arrived in Minnesota.
The virus causes acute rhinotracheitis characterized by coughing, nasaldischarge, tracheal rales, foamy conjunctivitis and sinusitis in turkeys.In uncomplicated cases, the mortality rate is 2 to 5 percent but it cango up to 25 percent in the presence of secondary infection with bacteria.In laying birds, there is a temporary drop in egg production, along withmild respiratory illness. This disease does not affect humans.
Biomune, a Kansas-based veterinary vaccine company, has licensed therights to produce and market the vaccine from UM and is selling the vaccinein the Midwest. Turkey growers can purchase the vaccine through Best VeterinarySolutions and Northwestern Supply Company. The vaccine is administered tothe flocks through drinking water or eye drops.