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'Useful tool for quick detection of Gumboro virus in the field'

The recently developed IBD rapid test by Royal GD can help to quickly determine whether flocks are infected with Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD), also known as Gumboro’s disease. Elanco’s technical poultry consultant Dmytro Radko, already tested the new rapid test at several farms together with local poultry veterinarians and found it to be positive. ‘It provides quick important information regarding animal health for the veterinarian and farmer and can help to support or set up a good vaccination scheme.’ 

Infectious Bursal Disease, also known as Gumboro’s disease, is caused by the Infectious Bursal Disease Virus (IBDV). The disease can be clinical or subclinical and causes a lot of damage in both cases. The clinical disease is manifested by acute death, diarrhoea, lethargic and sick animals. The necropsy report consists of muscle bleeding, bloody or swollen bursas in the acute phase and small bursas at a later stage. Subclinical Gumboro's disease is sometimes difficult to observe. Frequently mentioned complaints are wet bedding, reduced technical results and slightly increased mortality are noticeable.

In a flock with the subclinical version of Gumboro’s disease, with no visible sick animals but poor technical results, Dmytro Radko used the IBD rapid test for the first time. ‘Normally, we send the samples into the laboratory to run PCR tests and it takes some days  to get the results. Now the veterinarian in the field can do the test in the necropsy room of the clinic or even on the farm and have a result within minutes. The result of the IBD rapid test was positive and it was confirmed by PCR test, so we knew that the flock was infected with Gumboro virus and could adjust the vaccination plan.’

Easy to perform

The local poultry veterinarian that performed the test was Norbert Röring: ‘It is very easy. Along with the test kit we received clear instructions and a garlic press to prepare the tissue for the test.’ The tissue is derived from the bursa, a small organ in the chicken. After dissection, the bursa is placed  in the garlic press and squeezed out. The fluid that comes out contains high concentrations of Gumboro virus, if the chicken is infected. Using the sterile swab provided, the cells are transferred to a  bottle of extraction buffer fluid. Three drops of this liquid are dripped onto the test cassette to complete the test. It’s exactly the same procedure we all know from the Corona self-test. After twenty minutes the results can be read: one stripe is negative, two stripes are positive: the animal tested is infected with Gumboro’s disease.

It was indeed Gumboro that was causing the poor performance of the flock on the organic poultry farm in western Germany. With this knowledge, confirmed by the positive result of the PCR test in the laboratory that Norbert Röring had carried out in parallel, he was able to take steps to improve the health of the animals and try to prevent further problems. ‘It’s always good to know what disease you are dealing with. Poor performance of the flock can also be caused by a number of other things. Different diseases requires different approaches.’ On this farm the animals were vaccinated against Gumboro on day 21. ‘If a flock is vaccinated but there are still problems with Gumboro’s disease, then we can think about optimizing the vaccination procedure or using a stronger vaccine’, the poultry veterinarian explains.

Better understanding

Dmytro Radko agrees that the IBD rapid test can be of great value in the future for the practical poultry vets and poultry farmers. ‘Especially for farms with flocks that aren’t vaccinated and for monitoring of vaccination success. The rapid test is a practical way of immediately showing if a particular pathogen such as IBDV is present on the farm. It is also good to show the farmer the test cassette: it makes it much easier for the farmer to understand that the chickens are infected and virus is on the farm, even if they do not look clinically sick.' If the rapid test is widely used in the field in the future, it can become a useful tool in the daily work of poultry practitioners.


More about rapid testing

The IBD rapid test can be used in both unvaccinated and vaccinated flocks. If there are clinical or subclinical problems due to Gumboro, the rapid test result is positive. After a positive rapid test, it is important to send samples for a PCR test (and genotyping if positive). This makes the diagnosis and determines the type of virus. Bursa samples can be sent to GD using tissue, swabs or FTA cards.

You can also use the rapid test to check the Gumboro vaccination. The rapid test should be positive three to five days after a vaccination with a live vaccine via drinking water. Ten days after a successful vaccination, the rapid test is negative. If the vaccination is successful, the rapid test remains negative even after a field infection at a later time.

Are you interested in a free sample of the IBD Starter Kit, containing five tests? Please contact your GD representative or diagnostics@gdanimalhealth.com.


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