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Polar Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 569–573 | Cite as

Cutaneous and diphtheritic avian poxvirus infection in a nestling Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) from Antarctica

  • Valerie Shearn-BochslerEmail author
  • D. Earl Green
  • Kathryn A. Converse
  • Douglas E. Docherty
  • Teresa Thiel
  • Heidi N. Geisz
  • William R. Fraser
  • Donna L. Patterson-Fraser
Original Paper

Abstract

The Southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) is declining over much of its range and currently is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Island-specific breeding colonies near Palmer Station, Antarctica, have been monitored for over 30 years, and because this population continues to increase, it is critically important to conservation. In austral summer 2004, six diseased giant petrel chicks were observed in four of these colonies. Diseased chicks were 6–9 weeks old and had multiple proliferative nodules on their bills and skin. One severely affected chick was found dead on the nest and was salvaged for necropsy. Histopathological examination of nodules from the dead chick revealed epithelial cell hyperplasia and hypertrophy with numerous eosinophilic intracytoplasmic inclusions (Böllinger bodies). A poxvirus was isolated from multiple nodules. Poxviral infection has not been reported in this species, and the reason for its emergence and its potential impact on the population are not yet known.

Keywords

Avian poxvirus Antarctica Southern giant petrel Macronectes giganteus Pelagic seabird Infectious disease 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The technical assistance of Renee R. Long, Brenda Berlowski, and Mauritz Sterner are gratefully acknowledged. Antarctic fieldwork was supported by grants OPP-9910095, OPP-0130525 and OPP-0217282 to W. R. Fraser.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie Shearn-Bochsler
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. Earl Green
    • 1
  • Kathryn A. Converse
    • 1
  • Douglas E. Docherty
    • 1
  • Teresa Thiel
    • 2
  • Heidi N. Geisz
    • 3
  • William R. Fraser
    • 4
  • Donna L. Patterson-Fraser
    • 4
  1. 1.USGS National Wildlife Health CenterMadisonUSA
  2. 2.University of Missouri St LouisSt LouisUSA
  3. 3.School of Marine SciencesThe College of William and MaryGloucester PointUSA
  4. 4.Polar Oceans Research GroupSheridanUSA

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