Avian chlamydiosis is an infection caused by obligate intracellular and Gram-negative bacteria belonging to the family Chlamydiaceae and has been reported in more than 450 avian species distributed in 30 orders. In particular, a high prevalence of infection has been demonstrated in wild passerine populations, including both asymptomatic and clinically ill individuals, suggesting a role of these avian species as important carriers. In May 2018, avian chlamydiosis was diagnosed in a 1-year-old male Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae) at the Turlock Branch of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System. The bird belonged to an outdoor aviary with mixed avian species, including Gouldian finches, doves (Geopelia cuneata and Spilopelia chinensis), and psittacines (Aratinga, Psittacula, Pyrrhura, and Trichoglossus sp.). Severe respiratory distress and mortality were noted among the finches. Gross and histopathologic lesions were concentrated in the liver and spleen, with a mild involvement of the upper respiratory tract. Chlamydia spp. were detected in the spleen and kidney by real-time PCR and were further confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Subsequently, Chlamydia psittaci was isolated from the liver and spleen and characterized as a CP3-like strain (genotype B). In addition, viral particles compatible with circovirus were identified in the liver by direct electron microscopy. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of avian chlamydiosis with hepatic viral particles consistent with circovirus infection in a Gouldian finch.
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Vol. 64 • No. 2