Avian chlamydiosis is an infection caused by obligate intracellular and Gram-negative bacteria belonging to the family Chlamydiaceae and has been reported in more than 450 avian species distributed in 30 orders. In particular, a high prevalence of infection has been demonstrated in wild passerine populations, including both asymptomatic and clinically ill individuals, suggesting the role of these avian species as important carriers. In May 2018, avian chlamydiosis was diagnosed in a 1-year-old, male Gouldian finch (Chloebia gouldiae) at the Turlock branch of the California Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratory System. The bird belonged to an outdoor aviary with mixed avian species including Gouldian finches, doves (Geopelia cuneata, Spilopelia chinensis) and psittacines (Aratinga, Psittacula, Pyrrhura and Trichoglossus sp.). Severe respiratory distress and mortality were noted among the finches. Gross and histopathological lesions were concentrated in liver and spleen, with a mild involvement of the upper respiratory tract. Chlamydia spp. were detected in the spleen by real-time PCR and further confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Subsequently, C. psittaci was isolated from liver and spleen and characterized as a CP3-like strain (genotype B). In addition, viral particles compatible with circovirus were identified in the liver by direct electron microscopy. To the authors knowledge, this is the first report of avian chlamydiosis with hepatic viral particles consistent with circovirus infection in a Gouldian finch.

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