Developer ducks are ducks being reared for breeding. Like breeder candidate chickens, they are raised with appropriate light and feed programs. A commercial Pekin duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus) developer flock experienced an extraordinary, elevated mortality event at 6 wk of age. Weekly mortality rate that week was 162 ducklings out of a flock of 6420 (2.5%). Mortality jumped to 988 (15.4%) ducklings the next week. On first elevated mortality, six dead ducks from that flock were submitted for diagnostic investigation at Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Myocarditis, pale striping or diffuse pallor of the epicardium, was grossly evident in five of the six submitted ducklings. All of the ducklings had hydropericardium, three had ascites, and three had congested meninges. Histology confirmed myocarditis with myocardial necrosis. Cerebrum and brainstem had lymphocytic vasculitis with rare neuronal necrosis in affected areas, as well as Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. West Nile virus was confirmed by PCR the day after submittal and by immunohistochemistry soon thereafter.

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