Inclusion body disease of cranes

Information and Technology Report 1999-0001




In March 1978, a previously unidentified herpesvirus was isolated at the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) from a die-off of captive cranes housed at the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Serological testing of this virus against other previously isolated avian herpesviruses does not result in cross-reactions, thereby supporting this agent’s status as a distinctly new virus. The NWHC assigned the descriptive name, “inclusion body disease of cranes” (IBDC) to this disease when reporting the outbreak in the scientific literature, because the disease is characterized by microscopic inclusions in cell nuclei throughout the liver and spleen.

Very little is known about how this disease is transmitted. As with duck plague and avian cholera, outbreaks are thought to be initiated by disease carriers within a population of birds. The disease likely spreads by direct contact between infected birds and other susceptible birds and by contact with a virus-contaminated environment. Findings of antibody in sera of cranes bled nearly 3 years before the deaths at ICF indicates that the IBDC virus can be maintained in a captive crane population for at least 2 years and 8 months without causing mortality. The IBDC virus has been isolated from the cloaca of antibody-positive cranes, which indicates the potential for fecal shedding of the virus.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Federal Government Series
Inclusion body disease of cranes
Series title:
Information and Technology Report
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Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
National Wildlife Health Center
4 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Field manual of wildlife diseases: General field procedures and diseases of birds
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