An outbreak of infectious catarrhal enteritis, associated with the flagellated protozoan Spironucleus meleagridis (syn. Hexamita meleagridis), is reported from a commercial flock of chukar partridges in California. The disease affected birds between the ages of 4 and 6 wk and resulted in diarrhea, listlessness, depression, and high mortality. Concurrent infection with other intestinal pathogens, including Cryptosporidia, group E Salmonella, long-segmented filamentous microorganisms (LSFMOs), and Rotavirus-like virus particles, was found in some but not all affected birds. Dermatitis of the face, shanks, and feet, suggestive of B-complex vitamin deficiency, was present in most affected birds as well. Flagellated protozoan parasites could be found in the lumen of the duodenum and jejunum and in the intestinal crypts. In some cases the flagellates were wedged between epithelial cells or were located intracellularly within cells of the mucosal epithelium and the intestinal lamina propria.
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Vol. 48 • No. 3