Serological evidence of infection with Coxiella burnetii was found in 41 (2%) of 1,951 domestic birds and in 167 (19%) of 863 wild birds from 17 and 5 prefectures in Japan, respectively, by microagglutination (MA) test. The bacteriological evidence of the infection was found in 17 (41%) of 41 domestic birds and 37 (22%) of 167 wild birds by the nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In addition, C. burnetii was isolated from five each of serum, spleen and fecal specimens from five jungle crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) (whose sera were positive by both the MA test and PCR) by inoculating laboratory mice. Domestic quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) (3%), domestic muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) (3%), domestic chickens (2%), domestic mallards (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus) (2%), carrion crows (Corvus corone) (37%), jungle crows (35%), and wild rock doves (Columba livia) (6%) showed serologic evidence of experience with C. burnetii. There was a tendency for a high prevalence among birds living and/or feeding in close proximity to infected livestock. This suggests that these birds are one of the less important links in maintaining the whole cycle of C. burnetii infection.
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Vol. 34 • No. 2