A natural outbreak of avipoxvirus occurred in recently purchased stone curlews (Burhinus oedicnemus) at a breeding farm and subsequently spread to other stone curlews residing at the farm. The initial outbreak was characterized by mild vesicular skin lesions on the legs, which then developed crusts and bled. The overall morbidity rate was 100%, but none of the birds died, and all recovered without complication. Four gallinaceous species, also kept on the farm, did not develop lesions. Avipoxvirus was identified from the skin lesions by virus isolation, electron microscopy, and monoclonal antibody testing, as well as by polymerase chain reaction testing. Eight months after this outbreak, 7 male stone curlews developed large, round, crusty lesions on their legs. Although poxvirus virions were identified in the lesions, results of virus isolation were negative. These lesions possibly were the result of a recrudescence of the original infection in male birds that were stressed because they were housed together during the breeding season. This is the first clinical description of an avipoxvirus infection in stone curlews.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1