Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) was isolated from trachea and kidney tissues of eight broiler farms in Kurdistan region of North Iraq from 2008 to 2010. The birds were suffering from respiratory and nephropathological symptoms and lesions. A 1116 bp hyper mutable spike glycoprotein (S1) gene was amplified and sequenced using conventional RT-PCR. Sequence analysis and BLAST homology search in GenBank data base indicate that two of the farms were infected with the 4/91 strain, one with an unidentified IBV and five were infected with Sul/01/09. The birds in the latter five farms were suffering from nephropathogenic lesions, however, the virus was isolated from kidney but not from trachea in these cases. The birds were vaccinated regularly with 4/91 or MA5 vaccine. The deduced amino acid sequence of the isolated and amplified S1 subunit (372 aa) of Sul/01/09 was differed in 27-28% from that of all three vaccine strains (4/91, MA5, and H120) used in the region. This dissimilarity is most likely the cause of poor efficacy of vaccines used in the region, at least in five of these farms. Amino acid sequence comparison and phylogenetic tree analysis with other published IBV genotypes indicate that this newly isolated virus together with other regionally related and recently published isolates from Israel (IS/720/99, IS/885) and Egypt (egypt/Benisuef/01) belong to a new genotype. This is the first report of identification and genotyping of IBV isolate in Iraq, which indicate the circulation of 4/91 along with a new variant (Sul/01/09) of IBV in vaccinated broiler farms.
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