Duck Hepatitis Virus
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|DHV-1 and DHV-III|
|Species||Duck Hepatitis Virus I and III|
Also Known As: Duck Viral Hepatitis — DVH — DH
Caused By: Duck Hepatitis Virus 1 and 3 — DHV-1 — DHV-3
Duck hepatitis is caused by the enteroviruses DHV-1 and DHV-3.
It is a highly fatal disease of ducklings causing very high mortality, opisthotonus and hepatitis.
Ducks are the only species naturally affected.
DHV-1 occurs only in young ducklings, usually <6 weeks of age and spreads rapidly within a flock. It is the most virulent of the three.
DHV-2, an astrovirus (duck astrovirus 1), not an enterovirus, has only been reported in outdoor ducks on open fields.
Duck Hepatitis is not considered zoonotic.
DHV-1 is present worldwide.
DHV-2 has only been reported in Norfolk, England and no outbreaks have been recorded since the 1980’s.
DHV-3 has only been reported in the USA.
Sudden deaths, Opisthotonus, Paresis, Paralysis, Enopthalmos.
DHV-1 infection is most virulent. Morbidity is 100%, with mortality <95% up to one week of age, <50% for 1-3 weeks of age and negligible thereafter. Death usually occurs within 1-2 hours of clinical signs.
Mortality rates are lower in DHV-2 infections, reaching only 20%.
On post-mortem examination, the liver is enlarged, appears greenish and displays distinct ecchymotic haemorrhages.
Splenic and kidney swelling may also be evident. Cutaneous haemorrhage is often noted.
On histopathology, necrosis and inflammatory infiltrate are visible within hepatic cells.
Innoculation from liver suspensions can be used for confirmation of all DHVs using embryonated duck eggs, chicken eggs and tissue culture.
Direct immunofluorescence can also confirm presence of DHV-1.
Virus Neutralisation (VN) serological tests can be used to monitor vaccination response and epidemiology.
No treatment is effective once infected.
Vaccination is only commercially available against DHV-1. Immunisation involves two or three innoculations. Live, attenuated and inactivated forms are available.
DHV-1 can be prevented by strict isolation in the first 4-5 weeks of life.
The viruses are resistant to inactivation by heat, acid and some disinfectants. Only 5% phenol and formaldehyde are successful in inactivating the viruses.
Duck Hepatitis is a Class B disease listed by the Office des International Epizooties and thus any ducks exported require an international veterinary certificate that they are from a DVH free establishment and are not exhibiting clinical signs of DH. Vaccination status must also be disclosed.
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Gough R.E. and McNulty, M.S. (2007) Picornaviridae. In: Poultry Diseases, 6th Edition (eds. Pattison, M., McMullin, P., Bradbury, J., Alexander, D.) Saunders, Elsevier, pp 350-359
Woolcock, P.R. (2008) Duck Hepatitis. In: Diseases of Poultry, 12th Edition (eds. Saif, Y.M., Fadly A.M., Glissen J.R., McDougald L.R., Nolan L.K., Swayne D.E.) Wiley-Blackwell, pp 373-384
The datasheet was accessed on 5 June 2011.
This article has been expert reviewed by Prof Dave Cavanagh BSc, PhD, DSc
Date reviewed: 23 August 2011
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