In April 1992, on Tern Island, French Frigate Shoals, Hawaii (USA), researchers observed a hand-reared white tern hatchling (Gygis alba rothschildi) develop vesicular lesions on the webbing between its toes, 6 days after falling out of its nest. Vesicular fluid collected from the foot lesions contained virus-like particles having typical calicivirus morphology. Calicivirus RNA was detected in the vesicular fluid by dot hybridization with a group-specific calicivirus copy DNA probe. Attempts to cultivate the virus in African green monkey kidney cells and porcine kidney cells were unsuccessful. This is the first report of a calicivirus infection associated with vesicular disease in a wild avian species.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3