Avian polyomavirus (APV) causes a range of disease syndromes in psittacine birds, from acute fatal disease to subclinical infections, depending on age, species, and other unidentified risk factors. To determine the prevalence of APV-specific antibodies in a captive population of Spix's macaws (Cyanopsitta spixii) in Quatar, 54 birds were tested by blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A prevalence of 48.1% for APV antibodies, which indicates viral exposure, was found. Of 36 Spix's macaws that were serially tested over a period of 4 years, 50.0% were consistently positive, 36.1% were consistently negative, 5.5% had permanently declining antibody levels, and 2.8% showed variable results. By using polymerase chain reaction testing on whole blood samples, an apparent viremia was detected in 1 of 44 birds (2.3%), although contamination provides a likely explanation for this isolated positive result in a hand-reared chick. The white blood cell count was significantly higher in antibody-positive birds compared with antibody-negative birds (P < .05). Because antibody-positive and antibody-negative birds were housed together without a change in their respective antibody status, transmission of APV within the adult breeding population appeared to be a rare event.
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