The prevalence of psittacine beak and feather disease virus infection in native parrots in New Zealand

The prevalence of psittacine beak and feather disease virus infection in native parrots in New Zealand
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To determine the prevalence of psittacine beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) infection in native parrots in New Zealand.
METHODS: One hundred and sixty-nine wild native parrots and 143 captive native parrots throughout New Zealand were examined for the presence of BFDV, from June 2003 to January 2005. Feathers of each bird, and blood samples from 15 birds, were collected and submitted for PCR assay to detect BFDV.
RESULTS: All of the samples from wild native parrots were negative for BFDV by PCR assays. Similarly, of the 143 PCR tests from captive native parrots 139 (97%) were negative for BFDV. However, a pair of red-crowned parakeets and two Antipodes Island parakeets from different captive facilities were found to be infected with BFDV. The infected birds showed no clinical signs suggestive of psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), although the second Antipodes Island parakeet was found dead, and had pathological changes consistent with acute septicaemia.
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate a very low prevalence of BFDV among free-living native parrots although captive birds, in particular native parakeets, are susceptible to BFDV infection, and the Antipodes Island parakeets may be susceptible to PBFD.
KEY WORDS: Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV), psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), native parrot, kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), kea (Nestor notabilis), kaka (Nestor meridionalis spp.), parakeet/kakariki(Cyanoramphus spp.)

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