Herpesviruses (HVs) were detected by PCR in the cloacal swabs of 0.76% (4/525) clinically healthy free-living passerine birds from 32 different species captured in mist nets in Slovenia during the 2014 and 2017 autumn migrations. Herpesviruses were detected in the Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), the Common Blackbird (Turdus merula), and the Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Phylogenetic analysis of partial DNA polymerase gene nucleotide sequences of the HV strains showed a distant relationship with other alphaherpesviruses of birds. In the phylogenetic tree, the HVs detected were clustered together with HV detected in Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Neotropic Cormorants, as well as with known HVs such as gallid HV1, psittacid HV1 and HV2, and passerine HV1. Different sequences of HVs with relatively low identity were detected in our study, suggesting that different HVs were circulating in passerines sampled during the autumn migration in Slovenia.
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Vol. 57 • No. 2