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New technique used to discover new viruses in poultry

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In a search to find better ways to control viral enteric diseases in birds, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have unearthed a treasure trove of previously known and unknown viruses in poultry by using a powerful new molecular tool called metagenomics.

Each year, disorders like poult enteritis mortality syndrome, poult enteritis complex, and runting-stunting syndrome cause diarrhea in turkeys and chickens, resulting in decreased weight, mortality and increased production costs. Several viruses have been associated with enteric or intestinal diseases, but no single causative agent has been found.

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