First seroepidemiological and risk factor survey of avian metapneumovirus circulation in Moroccan broiler farms

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Amine Mernizi
Salma Bouziane
Hicham Fathi
Juan Luis Criado
Mohammed Bouslikhane
Abdeljelil Ghram
Elena Catelli
Mohammed Mouahid
Saadia Nassik


Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) is a highly contagious pathogen for broilers. Its epidemiological aspects remain poorly understood in Morocco. Given that, we carried out a pilot seroepidemiological survey from December 2020 to June 2021 to define aMPV seroprevalence in Moroccan broiler flocks in different bioclimatic zones (humid to sub-humid, semi-arid, arid) during winter and spring. According to these zones, 48 flocks not vaccinated against aMPV were selected using a stratified random sampling model. With a simple random sampling strategy, fifteen to thirty sera per flock were collected then analysed using a commercial indirect ELISA kit (CIVTEST AVI TRT®, HIPRA S.A., Amer, Spain) that was able to titre antibodies against aMPV subtypes A and B. Furthermore, questionnaires were shared with veterinarians in charge of flocks to collect data and analyse it with multivariable logistic regression models to identify risk factors associated with virus circulation. From 1142 sera, 912 tested positive with the ELISA used, showing an overall aMPV seroprevalence of 79.86% in the broilers. The arid zone had the highest seroprevalences: 94.16% during winter and 84.82% during spring. Bioclimate and season seemed to contribute to aMPV seropositivity. Likewise, high stocking densities and poor hygiene scores on farms were proven to predispose birds to seropositivity. Hereby, we show the circulation of aMPV in Moroccan broiler farms is influenced by bioclimate, season, density, and hygiene conditions. The present study is the first serological evidence of aMPV in broilers in the Maghreb region.


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Mernizi, A., Bouziane, S., Fathi, H., Criado, J. L., Bouslikhane, M., Ghram, A., Catelli, E., Mouahid, M., & Nassik, S. (2023). First seroepidemiological and risk factor survey of avian metapneumovirus circulation in Moroccan broiler farms. Veterinarski Glasnik, 77(1), 51-68.
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