Chicken anemia virus (CAV) was isolated for the first time from the Nigerian chicken population. The virus was recovered from necropsied birds from broiler and pullet flocks that suffered disease outbreaks tentatively diagnosed as infectious bursal disease. A sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay detected CAV DNA in tissues of necropsied birds. Restriction endonuclease analysis performed with the 733-bp PCR product and the Cfo I enzyme indicated at least two different CAVs were circulating among the Nigerian chicken population. Four isolates were obtained from pooled liver and thymus tissues using the MDCC–MSB1 cell line. These isolates were found to be antigenically closely related to the Cuxhaven-1 (Cux-1) reference strain of CAV when reacted with four monoclonal antibodies prepared against the Cux-1 virus. One of the isolates (isolate A) induced thymus atrophy, bone marrow aplasia, and low hematocrit values when inoculated into 1-day-old specific-pathogen-free chickens. These findings not only demonstrate that CAV is present in Nigeria, but they also likely represent the first cell culture isolation of the virus in Africa.
Sera samples from seven poultry farms in southwest Nigeria consisting of 7 broiler, 10 pullet, 1 layer, 1 cockerel, and 1 broiler breeder flocks were tested for the presence of chicken infectious anemia virus (CIAV) antibodies using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Eleven of the 20 flocks (55%) and six out of seven (86%) farms were positive for CIAV antibodies. The seroprevalence largely depended on the age of the flocks. Seroprevalence was higher within the older pullet and layer flocks (83%–100%) than in the younger broiler flocks (0%–83%). In essence, all flocks older than 6 to 8 wk became infected. This is the first report of serologic evidence of CIAV in Subsaharan Africa. Since Southwest Nigeria is the main port of entry of imported chicken and the hub of major poultry breeders, the disease can probably be found throughout the country and beyond. Further studies are necessary to assess economic losses due to CIAV and the cost benefit of countermeasures.