Outbreak of avian mycobacteriosis in a commercial Turkey breeder flock.
Avian mycobacteriosis (AM) is a chronic and contagious disease of pet birds, captive exotic, wild and domestic fowl, and mammals. Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium is the most common cause of AM in poultry. For the first time, we report a chronic outbreak of AM in an Iranian breeder flock of 250 45-week-old turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) with a morbidity and mortality rate of 91.6% and 80%, respectively. A well-defined clinical feature of the outbreak included a progressive weight loss, decreased egg production, listlessness, and lameness. Tuberculous nodules were seen on liver, spleen, ovary, and ribs. Granulomatous inflammation and acid-fast bacilli were confirmed by using Ziehl-Neelsen method on hepatic lesions. M. avium subsp. avium was identified by polymerase chain reaction techniques based on the presence of 16S ribosomal RNA gene and insertion elements IS1245 and IS901. In this report, we not only describe the epidemiological, pathological, and molecular characteristics of the outbreak in detail, but we also discuss multiple factors influencing the introduction and development of AM critically. In this case, wild feral pigeons might have been the source of infection, but further molecular-epidemiology studies are needed to understand the role of wild birds in the persistence and transmission of Mycobacterium.