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J Wildl Dis: Hematology, plasma chemistry, and serology of the flightless cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi) in the Galapagos islands, Ecuador.

The flightless cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi) is an endemic species of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Health studies of the species have not previously been conducted. In August 2003, baseline samples were collected from flightless cormorant colonies on the islands of Isabela and Fernandina. Seventy-six birds, from nestlings to adults, were evaluated. Genetic sexing of 70 cormorants revealed 37 females and 33 males. Hematology assessment consisted of packed cell volume (n = 19), leukograms (n = 69), and blood smear evaluation (n = 69). Microscopic evaluation of blood smears revealed microfilaria in 33% (23/69) of the cormorants. Plasma chemistries were performed on 46 cormorants. There was no significant difference in chemistry values or complete blood counts between male and female cormorants or between age groups. Based on a serologic survey to assess exposure to avian pathogens, birds (n = 69) were seronegative for West Nile virus, avian paramyxovirus type 1 (Newcastle disease virus), avian paramyxovirus types 2 and 3, avian influenza, infectious bursal disease, infectious bronchitis, Marek's disease (herpes), reovirus, avian encephalomyelitis, and avian adenovirus type 2. Antibodies to avian adenovirus type 1 and Chlamydophila psittaci were found in 31% (21/68) and 11% (7/65) of flightless cormorants respectively. Chlamydophila psittaci was detected via polymerase chain reaction in 6% (2/33) of the cormorants. The overall negative serologic findings of this research suggest that the flightless cormorant is an immunologically naive species, which may have a reduced capacity to cope with the introduction of novel pathogens.

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Author:Travis, E.K.; Vargas, F.H.; Merkel, J.
Publication:Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Article Type:Reprint
Geographic Code:0PACR
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Previous Article:J Wildl Dis: Wild bird mortality and West Nile virus surveillance: biases associated with detection, reporting, and carcass persistence.
Next Article:J Wildl Dis: Natural and experimental West Nile virus infection in five raptor species.

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