Ninety-five (97%) of 98 black siskins (Carduelis atrata) died within 2 months of arrival in Italy from South America with the following clinical signs: rapid weight loss, breast muscle atrophy, congested and distended abdomen, diarrhea, and lethargy. Macroscopically we observed hepato-splenomegaly, pulmonary congestion, and thickening of the interstinal wall. Histologically, lymphomonocytic transmural enteritis, interstitial mononuclear cell infiltrates in the lungs and in the liver, as well as activation of splenic follicles were common features. Large numbers of protozoa belonging to Isospora sp. were observed in various stages of their life-cycle in the intestinal epithelium, and some zoites were found in the extra-intestinal cellular infiltrate as well. No viral or bacterial pathogens were found.
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Vol. 33 • No. 1