A turkey rhinotracheitis outbreak caused by the environmental spread of a vaccine-derived avian metapneumovirus
Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) subtype A was isolated from 7-week-old turkeys showing respiratory disease typical of turkey rhinotracheitis. Comparison of the virus sequence with previously determined vaccine marker sequences showed that the virulent virus had originated from a licensed live subtype A aMPV vaccine. The vaccine had neither been in use on the farm within a period of at least 6 months nor had it been used on farms within a distance of approximately 5 km. Isolation of the virus and exposure to naive turkeys caused disease typical of a virulent aMPV field strain. The study shows that disease was caused by exposure to aMPV vaccine-derived virus that was present in the environment, and indicates that such virus is able to circulate for longer than was previously envisaged.