avian & livestock assay data sheet
- Ultrasensitive detection of fowlpox virus by real time PCR
Fowlpox is a slow-spreading viral infection of chickens and
turkeys that occurs worldwide.
It is characterized by proliferative skin lesions (in the
cutaneous form) that progress to thick scabs. The infection may
also cause lesions in the upper gastrointestinal and respiratory
tracts (in the diphtheritic form).
Fowlpox virus is a DNA
avipoxvirus belonging to the family
Poxviridae. The virus
is highly resistant and may survive for several years in dried
scabs. The virus can be present in large numbers in lesions.
Transmission of the virus can be through contact with abrasions
of the skin; skin lesions and scabs shed from recovering birds
in poultry houses are an important source of aerosol infection.
Insects such as mosquitos and biting flies may serve as
mechanical vectors, and the infection can spread rapidly where
mosquitos are plentiful (Hess et al., 2011). Some affected birds
may become asymptomatic carriers, and the disease may be
reactivated by stress (eg, moulting) or during immunosuppression
due to other infections. The disease tends to persist for
extended periods among flocks.
The cutaneous form of fowlpox infection is characterized by
nodular lesions on various parts of the unfeathered skin of
chickens and on the head and upper neck of turkeys. Generalized
lesions of feathered skin may also be seen. The diphtheritic
form of fowlpox infection involves lesions on the mucous
membranes of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, and trachea.
In either form of the disease, decreased performance in weight
gain and egg laying are expected.
Fowlpox infection has been diagnosed by viral isolation but this
method is slow and has low sensitivity. Serological methods may
also be used to determine the infection, but since many birds
have been previously exposed to this virus, serology may not be
very useful. However, PCR can provide rapid, sensitive and
specific detection of the virus.
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Identify fowlpox carriers
Screen research materials for the presence of fowlpox
Help ensure that flocks are free of fowlpox
Early prevention of spread of the virus among birds
Minimize human exposure to the virus
Safety monitoring of biological products that derive from
Hess, C., Maegdefrau-Pollan, B.,
Bilic, I., Liebhart, D., Richter, S., Mitsch, P. and
Hess, M. (2011)
Outbreak of cutaneous form of poxvirus on a commercial turkey
farm caused by the species fowlpox.
0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top) tube, or 0.2 ml cell culture, or lesion swab or
scab, or oral
swab, or 0.2 ml tissue.
Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or
during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped
and ship with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping
requirements are specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped
so as to remain frozen in transit. See
for more information.
Turnaround time: 2 business days
Methodology: Qualitative real time PCR
Normal range: Nondetected