One hundred and nineteen Merriam's wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo merriami) and 31 domestic chickens coexisting on a ranch in west-central Colorado (USA) were surveyed for mycoplasmosis by serologic and cultural methods. Although no clinical signs were apparent in any wild turkeys tested, 51 (43%) had positive rapid plate agglutination (RPA) reactions for M. gallisepticum (MG) and/or M. synoviae (MS); 37% of 56 adults and 48% of 63 subadults were classified as positive reactors to MG and/or MS. No turkeys tested in 1992 (n = 61) and 17 (29%) of 58 turkeys tested in 1993 were RPA-positive for M. meleagridis (MM). Hemagglutination inhibition (HI) test results were negative for MG, MS and MM as were most enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test reactions (MG = 99%, MS = 93%, MM = 87%). Immunoblotting showed mild to moderate reactivity to MG proteins in 49% of 41 samples tested. Most chickens were strongly positive for MS by RPA (81%), HI (58%) and ELISA (87%); 48% also were positive for MG by RPA but all were MG-negative by HI and ELISA. No pathogenic mycoplasmas were isolated from either group of birds. Mycoplasma gallopavonis was commonly identified from the wild turkeys, and M. gallinaceum was isolated from both the chickens and wild turkeys. In a transmission study conducted in 1994, disease-free domestic turkeys failed to seroconvert when co-housed with wild turkeys from this population that were RPA-positive for MG. Collectively, the results of this study were inconclusive regarding the status of pathogenic mycoplasmas within this wild turkey population.
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Vol. 33 • No. 3