From April 20 to May 10, 2010, multiple species of birds were seen at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Zoological Medicine Department for a disease syndrome characterized by acute lethargy, generalized subcutaneous petechiae, vasculitis, and death caused by a black fly identified as Simulium meridionale. Twenty psittacine birds presented with severe depression and multifocal subcutaneous hemorrhages over the body and especially noted in the featherless areas of the head and neck. Ten out of 20 clinical cases seen survived on a treatment regimen consisting of intravenous fluid therapy, anti-inflammatories, antihistaminic medications, and supportive care. The 10 other birds likely died of cardiopulmonary collapse and anaphylactoid reactions. In all post mortem examinations multifocal to coalescing dermal hemorrhage, eosinophilic dermatitis, severe edema, and vasculitis were observed. The LSU School of Animal Science conducted a brief survey that included 34 of the 64 Louisiana parishes and showed that 17 parishes, at least, were affected by this outbreak. A total of at least 225 poultry bird deaths could be attributed to black fly strikes. Simuliotoxicosis outbreaks have previously been reported in North America, and this report documents the clinical and post mortem findings, treatment response, and extent of such an outbreak in pet and farm birds in Louisiana.
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Vol. 56 • No. 3