Lymphoproliferative disease virus (LPDV) is an oncogenic avian retrovirus that was previously thought to exclusively infect domestic turkeys but was recently shown to be widespread in Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) throughout most of the eastern US. In commercial flocks, the virus spreads between birds housed in close quarters, but there is little information about potential risk factors for infection in wild birds. Initial studies focused on distribution of LPDV nationally, but investigation of state-level data is necessary to assess potential predictors of infection and detect patterns in disease prevalence and distribution. We tested wild turkey bone marrow samples (n=2,538) obtained from hunter-harvested birds in New York State from 2012 to 2014 for LPDV infection. Statewide prevalence for those 3 yr was 55% with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 53–57%. We evaluated a suite of demographic, anthropogenic, and land cover characteristics with logistic regression to identify potential predictors for infection based on odds ratio (OR). Age (OR=0.16, 95% CI=0.13–0.19) and sex (OR=1.3, 95% CI=1.03–1.24) were strong predictors of LPDV infection, with juveniles less likely to test positive than adults, and females more likely to test positive than males. The number of birds released during the state's 40-yr translocation program (OR=0.993, 95% CI=0.990–0.997) and the ratio of agriculture to forest cover (OR=1.13, 95% CI=1.03–1.19) were also predictive of LPDV infection. Prevalence distribution was analyzed using dual kernel density smoothing to produce a risk surface map, combined with Kulldorff's spatial scan statistic and the Anselin Local Moran's I to identify statistically significant geographic clusters of high or low prevalence. These methods revealed the prevalence of LPDV was high (>50%) throughout New York State, with regions of variation and several significant clusters. We revealed new information about the risk factors and distribution of LPDV in New York State, which may be beneficial to game bird managers and producers of organic or pasture-raised poultry.
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Vol. 53 • No. 3