A juvenile female bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was presented with emaciation and proliferative periocular lesions. The eagle did not respond to supportive therapy and was euthanatized. Histopathologic examination of the skin lesions revealed plaques of marked epidermal hyperplasia parakeratosis, marked acanthosis and spongiosis, and eosinophilic intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were done to amplify and sequence DNA polymerase and rpo147 genes. The 4b gene was also analyzed by a previously developed assay. Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses of the obtained sequences found it to be poxvirus of the genus Avipoxvirus and clustered with other raptor isolates. Better phylogenetic resolution was found in rpo147 rather than the commonly used DNA polymerase. The novel consensus rpo147 PCR assay will create more accurate phylogenic trees and allow better insight into poxvirus history.
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