Avian pneumovirus (APV) is a poultry disease that was first identified in 1997 in Minnesota and has since been found in other midwest states. APV has cost the Minnesota's turkey industry over $35 million dollars.
APV causes upper respiratory infection with sudden onset and rapid spread through flocks. It causes coughing and sneezing. Morbidity may be 100 percent and mortality can range from zero to 90 percent. A decline in egg production has been observed in breeders.
Though birds of all ages are susceptible, the disease is more severe in young birds. Clinical signs may be mild, but in the presence of secondary bacterial agents, the disease can be severe. Infected birds sneeze and exude frothy nasal discharge and foamy conjunctivitis. There is poor feed conversion. Recovery usually takes 10 to 12 days. Egg drop is seen in about 70 percent of infected flocks but production usually returns to normal within two to four weeks. It is possible to have infection without clinical signs.
The avian pneumovirus is transmitted by contact. Nasal discharge, contaminated water, equipment, feed trucks and movement of infected poults can contribute to the transmission of the virus. Air borne spread has been speculated and egg transmission and carrier birds have also been suggested.
In response to the need to control the disease, a modified-live, USDA-licensed and approved vaccine was developed. The vaccine is distributed through a permit process under the supervision of the Board in order to maintain the integrity of the prevalence program.