Cerebellar hypoplasia and hydrocephalus were identified in day old broiler chickens showing nervous signs, impaired mobility, and diarrhea. At postmortem examination, brains of chickens were misshapen and cerebellums were smaller than normal. Microscopically, cerebellar folia were reduced in size and irregularly shaped, and the ventricles were widely distended. Affected cerebellums had focal areas along the base of folia where the internal granular cell layer had been lost, and Purkinje cells were disorganized and located within the molecular layer. Parvovirus DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction in three of nine brains with oligonucleotide primers designed for amplification of chicken and turkey parvoviruses. On the basis of phylogenetic analyses, the detected virus was most closely related to chicken parvoviruses. These findings suggest that a chicken parvovirus might cause a neurologic disease of young chickens characterized by cerebellar hypoplasia and hydrocephalus; however, its role as the cause of the disease remains to be confirmed.
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Vol. 54 • No. 1