An outbreak of coccidiosis in laboratory-reared Chinese ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) resulted in high morbidity and moderate mortality. The outbreak was associated with a breach in biosecurity caused by the cleaning of a sewer line with a mechanical device, resulting in extensive splattering of fecal material throughout the “clean room” where birds were held prior to use in coccidiosis experiments. Mortality and morbidity in the affected birds were seen exactly 5 days after the incident, after birds had been moved to another room for experimental use, corresponding closely with the known prepatent or preclinical period of Eimeria phasiani and Eimeria colchici. Gross lesions in the affected birds varied from dehydration to intestinal and ventricular hemorrhage. Microscopic examination confirmed a diagnosis of severe intestinal coccidiosis. This report underscores the ease of contamination of experimental birds leading to coccidiosis outbreaks during breaches of management and biosecurity.
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Vol. 54 • No. 3