19. The first case of Avian Pneumovirus


Do you know when the first case of Avian Pneumovirus occurred?

Avian pneumovirus or avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) is a respiratory disease that causes infectious turkey rhinotracheitis (TRT) and Swollen Head Syndrome (SHS) in broiler chickens, layers and breeders.

It first appeared in 1978 in South Africa (Buys & Du Preez, 1980), and is currently a disease described and subjected to control programmes almost everywhere in the world.

Later in the 1980s, the disease appeared in Europe and the Middle East and in the early 1990s the first vaccines were developed.

To fight against this disease, HIPRAVIAR® SHS has been available from HIPRA since 1993, HIPRA being one of the few laboratories producing a Pneumovirus vaccine registered for chickens and turkeys.

Avian Pneumovirus: Hosts and transmission

Figure 1. Pneumovirus: Hosts and transmission


This disease is popularly known as swollen head syndrome (SHS) and turkey rhinotracheitis (TRT)

Natural reservoirs are turkeys and chickens, although it should also be noted that wild or domestic birds can also be reservoirs. The virus has been detected in the ciliary epithelium of the respiratory system and the oviduct (Hafez 1993; Cook 2000).

It is transmitted by direct contact between infected birds and sensitive birds. (Jones et al., 1986; Cook et al., 1991; Panigrahy et al., 2000; Alkhalaf et al., 2002). It is also possible by indirect contact including exposure to aerosol droplets and contaminated farm material (boots, clothing and equipment).

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