Reovirus infection in psittacine birds (Psittacus erithacus): Morphologic and immunohistochemical study

In this paper we report on an outbreak of reovirus, herpesvirus (Pacheco disease), and/or mycosis infection (Aspergillus spp. and Zygomyces spp.) affecting a batch of young African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus), with 80% morbidity and 30% mortality. Study material was taken from five birds (four dead and one euthanatized) with a range of clinical symptoms (depression, diarrhea, respiratory symptoms). Diagnosis was confirmed by immunohistochemical detection of avian reovirus, electron microscopy, and virus isolation. Viral antigen of reovirus was detected mainly in large mononuclear cells in the bursa of Fabricius and the spleen, pancreas epithelia-l cells, and circulating cells; lymphoid organs displayed the largest number of immunopositive cells and severe lymphocyte depletion. Bacteriologic study was negative. Reovirus infection was common in all birds studied, whereas Pacheco disease and mycosis were found in only some, suggesting that reovirus could be the initial cause triggering the outbreak and facilitating infection by other agents and their swift spread through the batch.

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