Molecular surveillance for lymphoproliferative disease virus in hunter-killed wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) from the eastern United States
Thomas, Jesse Michael
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Three avian retroviruses can cause lymphoid tumors in galliforms, including avian leukosis virus, reticuloendotheliosis virus, and lymphoproliferative disease virus (LPDV). Historically, LPDV was considered a poultry pathogen of minor importance. However, in 2009, LPDV was first detected in three wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) with evidence of lymphotumoral disease. Currently, little is known about the epidemiology, natural history, transmission, or pathobiology of LPDV. To begin to address these gaps, we surveyed asymptomatic hunter-killed wild turkeys for evidence of LPDV proviral DNA. Overall, 1,164 wild turkeys were tested from 417 counties throughout 17 states, detecting 564 positives for a prevalence estimate of 47%. Paired liver, spleen, and bone marrow samples were also screened (n=35) to determine the best tissue to target for future diagnostic and surveillance efforts. Of these tissues, bone marrow was the most efficient. These results suggest subclinical LPDV infection is common in wild turkeys throughout the Eastern United States.