Avian rotavirus (AvRV) is a double-stranded RNA virus of the Reoviridae family. The virus was first discovered in turkeys in the United States in 1977. Eight RV groups A to H (RVA-RVH) are defined by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) based mainly on group-specific antigenicity of VP6. Groups A, D, F and G have been found in birds, with a predominance of RVA and RVD shedding.
Avian rotaviruses cause gastrointestinal disease in a wide range of bird species worldwide, including chickens, pigeons, ducks, partridges, guinea fowl, lovebirds, pheasants, turkeys, parakeets, scoters, and parrots. Birds of all ages are vulnerable to disease, but young birds between 1 to 2 weeks of age are most susceptible.
AvRV invades the intestinal mucosal cells, especially at the edges of the intestinal villi, resulting in enteritis, diarrhea, gut dilation and impaired food absorption. There is an association between rotavirus infection and malabsorption syndrome.