During studies on the etiology of puffinosis, a disease of the Manx shearwater, 1 to 4% of full-grown birds were found to have dry, non-pigmented lesions on the webs of the feet. Poxvirus infection was detected in six of seven full-grown birds with such lesions. The lesions contained large encapsulated inclusions which were packed with mature and immature poxvirus particles. Poxvirus infection was not apparent in shearwater fledglings during puffinosis epizootics, and its spatial distribution was not related to that of puffinosis. The results indicate that poxvirus infection produces a mild, self-limiting disease in shearwaters and is not the cause of puffinosis.
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