Avian poxvirus infections are widespread in the domestic poultry population but are also reported in wild birds. In poultry, these infections cause significant economic losses, while wild birds may be a reservoir for poxvirus which affects breeding poultry. However, wild birds may also exhibit characteristic anatomopathological changes. This study concerns the infection of wild-living great tits (Parus major) with the avian poxvirus in Poland.
Material and Methods
Samples of internal organs and skin collected from great tits were homogenised and total cellular DNA was isolated. In PCR, the primers complementary to gene encoding the core protein 4b of the HP44 strain of fowl poxvirus (FPV) were used.
After electrophoresis in 2% agarose gel, the PCR product of 578 bp characteristic for FPV was obtained in DNA samples isolated from skin lesions and the heart. The analysis of the nucleotide sequence of the virus strain showed 99% similarity to many poxviruses previously isolated from great tits and other free birds at various sites in the world.
This paper is the first clinically documented evidence obtained in laboratory conditions of avian poxvirus cases in great tits in Poland.