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Preliminary surveillance for beak and feather disease virus in wild parrots of New Caledonia: implications of a reservoir species for Ouvea Parakeets

Bethany Jackson A B M , Almudena Lorenzo C , Jörn Theuerkauf D , Antoine Barnaud E F , Thomas Duval G , Philippe Guichard H , Henri Bloc H , Anna Baouma E F , Daisy Stainton I , Simona Kraberger I , Steve Murphy J , Natalie Clark B , Chelsea Dillon B , Thomas Knight B and Arvind Varsani I K L

A School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, WA 6150, Australia.
B Auckland Zoological Park, Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland 1022, New Zealand.
C Direction de l’Environnement de la Province Sud, Service des Aires Aménagées Protégées, Antenne territoriale du Grand Nouméa, Parc Zoologique et Forestier, Michel Corbasson, BP 3718, 98846 Nouméa Cedex, New Caledonia.
D Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wilcza 64, 00-679 Warsaw, Poland.
E Province des Iles Loyauté, Direction du Développement Economique, BP 50 98820 Wé, Lifou, New Caledonia.
F Association pour la Sauvegarde de la Biodiversité d’Ouvéa, BP 22, 98814, Fayaoué, Ouvéa, New Caledonia.
G Hémisphères, BP438, 98822 Poindimié, New Caledonia.
H Syndicat mixte des Grandes Fougères, BP 10, 98 881 Farino, New Caledonia.
I School of Biological Sciences and Biomolecular Interaction Centre, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand.
J School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.
K Electron Microscope Unit, Division of Medical Biochemistry, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7701, South Africa.
L Department of Plant Pathology and Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
M Corresponding author. Email: bethanyjackson2003@gmail.com

Emu - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU14029
Submitted: 9 December 2013  Accepted: 3 April 2014   Published online: 18 July 2014


 
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Abstract

Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) is a recognised key threat for the conservation of parrots globally, causing morbidity and mortality of individuals in susceptible species. We present findings from a survey in 2012 to investigate the presence of BFDV in wild New Caledonian parrots, including the endangered Ouvea Parakeet (Eunymphicus uvaeensis). Blood and feather samples from seven Ouvea Parakeets and 13 New Caledonian Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus deplanchii), and feathers from 15 New Caledonian Rainbow Lorikeets, five Horned Parakeets (Eunymphicus cornutus) and six New Caledonian Parakeets (Cyanoramphus saisseti) obtained from passive sampling, were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for BFDV. We identified a BFDV prevalence of 25% (95% CI 11–45%) in wild New Caledonian Rainbow Lorikeets, suggesting this species may act as a reservoir for persistence of BFDV in the wild, placing other parrots in New Caledonia at risk. All other parrot species tested negative for BFDV. New Caledonian Rainbow Lorikeets were introduced to Ouvéa Island in the 1970s, potentially bringing BFDV with them. As Ouvea Parakeets are restricted to this small island, we strongly recommend surveillance screening for BFDV in this species to guide future biosecurity and conservation efforts, and further understand the risk posed by BFDV to threatened parrots.



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