Erysipelas is a bacterial disease caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae that affects multiple mammalian and avian species. In poultry, the disease is of sporadic prevalence and more often observed in older birds, leading to decreased egg production and mortality. Among avian species, turkey breeders seem to be the most affected, but outbreaks have been reported in ducks, layer chickens, quails, geese and various captive and free-range birds. A total of 67 cases of erysipelas have been diagnosed in animals submitted for necropsy evaluation at the California Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratory System from January 2000 to December 2019. Of these, 38 cases (56.72%) were in avian species, and a retrospective analysis of these avian cases was performed. The majority of the avian cases were in turkeys (17/38, 44.74%). Most of the turkey breeder cases reported performing artificial insemination prior to the increase in mortality. In other birds, mortality was often observed without observing previous clinical signs. The majority of the cases presented with co-infections with other pathogens (23/38, 60.53%), which might have affected the clinical outcome. Despite the occasional occurrence in avian species, erysipelas is an important pathogen in poultry and should be considered as a differential diagnosis in other avian species when acute septicemia is suspected as the cause of mortality.

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