Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Bordetella avium is the causative agent of bordetellosis, a highly contagious upper respiratory disease of young poultry. Its incidence among domestic turkeys is well-known, but information on the incidence of this bacterium in other birds is limited. A survey of the prevalence of B. avium in wild and domestic birds was conducted to determine whether they might be a source of bordetellosis transmitted to turkey flocks. Analysis of blood samples obtained from 237 birds, representing 61 species, showed that approximately 42% had evidence of current or previous infection. From 128 tracheal samples, nine strains of B. avium were isolated. These strains were compared to clinical isolates from domestic turkeys using DNA-based tests and found to be highly similar. These observations suggest that a large percentage of wild birds are infected by B. avium and that they may be a source of bordetellosis in domestic turkey flocks.
Technical Abstract: Bordetella avium is the etiologic agent of bordetellosis, a highly contagious upper respiratory disease of young poultry. Its incidence among domestic turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo forma domestica) is well-known, but information on the incidence of this bacterium in other birds is limited. A survey of the prevalence of B. avium in wild and domestic birds was conducted from June 1998 to January 2000 using tracheal cultures and serology. Out of 237 blood samples from 61 species, 100 individuals from 41 species had antibodies against B. avium in their serum, as determined with a microtiter agglutination test. From 128 tracheal samples, nine isolates of B. avium were identified by the Biolog system. Ribotype analysis of seven isolates from mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), one from a wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and one from a Canada goose (Branta canadensis) indicated that they represent three strains, two of which are identical to clinical isolates from domestic turkeys. B. avium is evident in wild bird populations of many species and appears to be a common infection. Taken together, these observations suggest that transmission of B. avium between domestic turkey flocks and free-living avian populations may be possible.