Emergence of fowl aviadenovirus C-4 in a backyard chicken flock in California

Aslı Mete, Anibal G. Armien, Daniel Rejmanek, Meghan Mott, Beate M. Crossley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Fowl aviadenovirus (FAdV) species D and E are associated with inclusion body hepatitis (IBH); species C, serotype 4 (hereafter, FAdV4) is associated with hepatitis–hydropericardium syndrome (HHS) in young chickens. Outbreaks of HHS have led to significant losses in the poultry industry in several countries, predominantly in China. In April 2020, FAdV4 was detected in a remote backyard flock in California. In a mixed flock of chickens of various breeds and ages (6 mo to 2 y old), 7 of 30 were found dead within a week without premonitory signs. One additional bird died after the flock was relocated to fresh pasture, bringing the total mortality to 8 of 30 (27%). Postmortem examination of 3 birds revealed good body condition scores and active laying. One chicken had subtle hemorrhages throughout the liver, and the other 2 had diffusely dark mahogany livers. On histopathology, 2 chickens had hepatic necrosis with hepatocytes containing large, mostly basophilic, intranuclear inclusion bodies, identified by electron microscopy as 82.2-nm diameter adenoviral particles. Virus isolation and genomic sequencing performed on a liver sample revealed strains with 99.9% homology to FAdV4 isolates reported from China. To our knowledge, FAdV4 has not been reported in the United States to date. Furthermore, the chickens affected here were all adults and exhibited a variation of serotype 4 disease in which IBH was present but not hydropericardium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)806-809
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • backyard chickens
  • FAdV C-4
  • fowl aviadenovirus
  • hydropericardium syndrome
  • inclusion body hepatitis
  • serotype 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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