A survey was conducted at 5 locations in Texas for avian pathogens that might adversely affect wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) productivity and survival. At 1 site, the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Refuge (WWR), turkeys have declined precipitously in recent years. During the winters of 1983-85, 442 wild turkeys were caught with cannon and drop nets, 161 of these on WWR. Blood samples were drawn for serologic evaluation, and cloacal and tracheal swabs were collected for isolation attempts. Salmonella spp. bacteria, Newcastle disease virus (NDV), and avian influenza virus (AIV) were not detected in any samples tested. Serologic tests for antibodies to NDV and AIV also were negative. Many mycoplasma isolates were recovered from turkeys from every location. Characterization of these isolates indicated that several species were present. None were species typically associated with mycoplasmosis in domestic turkeys, such as Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), M. meleagridis (MM), or M. synoviae (MS), although antibodies to these pathogens were detected in turkeys at every location sampled. There was no evidence to link any of these disease causing agents to the decline observed in the population of wild turkeys on the WWR.
Additional Publication Details
Microbial infections in a declining wild turkey population in Texas (USA)