Fowl cholera is caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida and is known to cause significant economic losses in the commercial turkey industry. Four hundred and thirty cases of P. multocida in commercial turkeys, submitted to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS) from January 1, 1991, to December 31, 2017, were analyzed. Records examined included CAHFS branch location, date of submission, clinical signs, company and premise of origin, age and sex of submitted turkeys, macroscopic findings, organs in which P. multocida was isolated, and serotype and fingerprint information. Increased mortality as high as 1200 birds per day was the most common complaint at submission, with acute septicemic lesions observed in the majority of cases. The mean age of turkeys diagnosed with fowl cholera was 14 wk, with a median age of 17 wk. Cases most frequently occurred from September to November, with 36% of cases occurring during this time period. Serotyping was performed in 350 cases, while fingerprinting was performed in 171 cases. Serotypes 3 and 3,4 were frequently identified in the 26-yr time period, while the fingerprints identified varied over time. Despite the decreasing population of commercial turkeys in California since the 1990s, fowl cholera continues to be an economically significant disease in this sector.
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Vol. 62 • No. 4