In September 2019, a highly prevalent infectious disease caused severe hydropericardium hepatitis syndrome (HHS) in a peacock farm in Central China. The disease showed high mortality of 78.6% in 28-42 day-old peacocks. In this study, one strain of highly pathogenic fowl adenovirus serotype 4 (FAdV-4) was isolated from peacocks and designated as HN19. Molecular characterization of amino acid revealed that HN19 contains the same deletions as the dominate strains in chickens in China recently. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that HN19 showed higher homology with other FAdV-4 strains isolated from China, indicating that HN19 might originate from previously FAdV-4 predecessor in China. Experimental infection of the HN19 strain via intramuscular injection led to 100% mortality rate in 21-day-old specific pathogenic-free (SPF) chickens. To our knowledge, this represents the first report on the prevalence of FAdV-4 in peacocks. These results suggested that the potential risk of cross-species transmission of FAdV-4 from chickens to peacocks, highlighting the need for implementing strict biosecurity measures to avoid the mixing of different bird species.
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