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01.12.2014 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 4/2014 Open Access

EcoHealth 4/2014

Chlamydiosis in British Garden Birds (2005–2011): Retrospective Diagnosis and Chlamydia psittaci Genotype Determination

EcoHealth > Ausgabe 4/2014
K. M. Beckmann, N. Borel, A. M. Pocknell, M. P. Dagleish, K. Sachse, S. K. John, A. Pospischil, A. A. Cunningham, B. Lawson
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10393-014-0951-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


The significance of chlamydiosis as a cause of mortality in wild passerines (Order Passeriformes), and the role of these birds as a potential source of zoonotic Chlamydia psittaci infection, is unknown. We reviewed wild bird mortality incidents (2005–2011). Where species composition or post-mortem findings were indicative of chlamydiosis, we examined archived tissues for C. psittaci infection using PCR and ArrayTube Microarray assays. Twenty-one of 40 birds tested positive: 8 dunnocks (Prunella modularis), 7 great tits (Parus major), 3 blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), 2 collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto, Order Columbiformes), and 1 robin (Erithacus rubecula). Chlamydia psittaci genotype A was identified in all positive passerines and in a further three dunnocks and three robins diagnosed with chlamydiosis from a previous study. Two collared doves had genotype E. Ten of the 21 C. psittaci-positive birds identified in the current study had histological lesions consistent with chlamydiosis and co-localizing Chlamydia spp. antigens on immunohistochemistry. Our results indicate that chlamydiosis may be a more common disease of British passerines than was previously recognized. Wild passerines may be a source of C. psittaci zoonotic infection, and people should be advised to take appropriate hygiene precautions when handling bird feeders or wild birds.

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Details of mortality incidents and gross post-mortem examination findings in birds negative for C. psittaci infection. (DOC 56 kb)
Chlamydia psittaci-positive birds in which histology and immunohistochemistry were either not performed, or in which the results were equivocal for chlamydiosis. (DOC 53 kb)
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