An outbreak of conjunctivitis affected evening grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) and pine grosbeaks (Pinicola enucleator) in Quebec (Canada) during the winter 1998–99. One to 30% of the individuals from these two species were sick at 13 feeding stations. Sick birds were thin and had unilateral or bilateral catarrhal and lymphoplasmacytic conjunctivitis and rhinitis, and mucopurulent infraorbital sinusitis. Mycoplasmal organisms were isolated in cultures in an affected evening grosbeak and identified as Mycoplasma gallisepticum by direct immunofluorescence. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fin-gerprinting of this isolate resulted in a banding pattern that was identical to patterns of M. gallisepticum isolates made from similar lesions in house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) and American gold finches (Carduelis tristis) throughout eastern North America. Mycoplasma gallisepticum was identified by polymerase chain reaction in another evening grosbeak and a pine grosbeak. These observations suggest that the same strain of M. gallisepticum is the likely etiology for the observed disease in evening and pine grosbeaks in Canada and represent an extension of the host-species range for the ongoing epidemic of M. gallisepticum conjunctivitis in eastern North America.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4