Prevalence of Bordetella avium infection in selected wild and domesticated birds in the Eastern USA.
B. avium is the aetiological agent of bordetellosis, a highly contagious upper respiratory disease of young poultry. Its prevalence among domesticated turkeys is well-known, but information on prevalence of this bacterium in other birds is limited. A survey of the prevalence of B. avium in wild and domesticated birds was conducted from June 1998 to January 2000, using tracheal cultures and serology. The serum samples were collected from New Jersey and Florida, USA. Of 237 blood samples from 61 species, 100 individuals from 41 species had antibodies against B. avium as determined with a microtitre agglutination test. Nine isolates of B. avium were cultured from 128 tracheal samples. Ribotype analysis of 7 isolates from mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), one from a wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and one from a Canada goose (Branta canadensis) indicated that they represent 3 strains, 2 of which were indistinguishable from clinical isolates from domesticated turkeys. B. avium is present in wild bird populations of multiple species. Transmission from free living avian populations to domesticated poultry populations may be possible and should be examined.