Lymphoproliferative disease virus (LPDV) is an exogenous alpharetrovirus that sporadically causes fatal lymphoid neoplasia in affected turkeys. Previous studies of wild turkeys (Meleagridis gallopavo) in the United States have demonstrated geographically widespread LPDV infection and frequent coinfection with avian poxvirus (APV) and reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV). This study was conducted to better understand health risks to Mississippi wild turkeys, including the relative importance of LPDV, APV, and REV in contributing to mortality. Thirteen wild turkeys, which died naturally or were euthanized due to illness, were submitted to Mississippi State University's Poultry Research and Diagnostic Laboratory for postmortem examinations. Birds originated from nine counties across the state over the past 5 yr. Carcasses were submitted as fresh (nonfrozen) or frozen. At autopsy, 9 of 13 turkeys had severe, proliferative cutaneous lesions on the head and neck, with diphtheritic or proliferative oral and esophageal lesions. Samples were collected for molecular diagnostic testing (LPDV and REV PCR), histopathology, and bacterial culture and isolation. External and internal parasites were preserved in formalin for identification. APV (cutaneous and/or diphtheritic forms) was diagnosed in 9 of 13 birds by identification of pathognomonic histologic lesions (including intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies). Interestingly, all birds with APV were also REV PCR positive. Furthermore, eight turkeys were positive for LPDV, and LPDV was commonly associated with coinfections with APV and REV.

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