The bacterium Avibacterium paragallinarum is the etiologic agent of infectious coryza of chickens. There are nine serovars of A. paragallinarum, and serovar C-1 has emerged in outbreaks of infectious coryza in layer hens in the Americas, with all isolates having been obtained from infectious coryza-vaccinated chickens. In the current study, the clinical and histopathologic outcomes of experimental infections in chickens with A. paragallinarum of serovar C-1 were investigated. The Japanese serovar reference strain, H-18, and a Mexican isolate, ESV-135, were included in the study. No differences in clinical sign scores or morbidity were observed between the two strains. The two bacterial strains caused microscopic lesions of lymphoplasmacytic inflammation in the mucosa of the nasal cavity, infraorbital sinus, and trachea. Similar severe lesions were observed in birds inoculated with both H-18 and ESV-135 strains. The lesions were present 48 hr after inoculation and persisted until day 10 after inoculation. Slight to severe, extensive hemorrhages were observed in the lumen, mucous membranes, and lamina propria of the nasal cavity and infraorbital sinus in most of the chickens inoculated with either the reference strain H-18 or the ESV-135 isolate. Hemorrhages in the upper respiratory tract of chickens experimentally infected with A. paragallinarum are reported here for the first time. The results have confirmed the high virulence of the reference strain H-18 as previously reported and have shown that the Mexican isolate was as virulent as the reference strain. The virulence of A. paragallinarum isolates may play a role in explaining why severe infectious coryza outbreaks are being seen in both vaccinated and nonvaccinated chicken flocks.
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