Subgroup J avian leukosis virus (ALV-J) causes serious economic losses in the commercial poultry industry. Measuring group-specific antigen (GSA) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) has been used to identify chickens infected with this virus. However, the inability of ELISA to discriminate the GSA from endogenous ALV (subgroup E ALV [ALV-E]) or ALV-J infection has limited its usage. The purpose of the present study was to develop a method to discriminate between uninfected flocks having ALV-E and ALV-J–infected flocks by ELISA. The GSA and anti-ALV-J antibody in the plasma samples from chickens at different ages in three grandparent farms were measured by ELISA. Infected flocks were confirmed by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction with different subgroup-specific primers and sequence analysis. The results indicated that the GSA of ALV-J–infected flocks increased, but that of the uninfected flocks decreased during young ages. The anti-ALV-J antibody of infected flocks was higher and increased earlier than that of uninfected flocks. Thus, measuring GSA in blood at the ages of 1 and 6 wk by ELISA is suitable to discriminate between ALV-J–infected flocks and uninfected flocks having ALV-E.

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