Respiratory herpesvirus infection in two Indian Ringneck parakeets
A flock of Indian Ringneck parakeets (Psittacula krameri manillensis) was imported to the United States from Australia. Soon after, 1 parakeet suddenly died, and a second parakeet died after a 2-day course of illness, which consisted of anorexia, lethargy, emaciation, and dyspnea. At necropsy, the affected birds had diffuse consolidation and red discoloration of the lungs, as well as thickened, congested air sacs. The microscopic examination revealed multifocal, necrotizing bronchitis, parabronchitis, and interstitial pneumonia. The lumen of the affected airways contained numerous, large syncytial cells with up to 15 nuclei. The nuclei of these syncytial cells often contained large, eosinophilic inclusion bodies, consistent with herpesvirus. The epithelium of the trachea and air sacs was hypertrophied and contained syncytial cells with intranuclear inclusion bodies similar to the bronchi. In addition, a few intranuclear inclusion bodies were also present in the epithelial cells that line the air capillaries. On ultrastructural examination, the nuclei of degenerating epithelial cells contained clusters of viral nucleocapsid proteins and unenveloped, icosahedral, viral particles that were approximately 90 nm in diameter. In addition, some epithelial cells contained clusters of enveloped viral particles approximately 105 nm in diameter, within the cytocavitary network. These lesions are characteristic of those caused by respiratory herpesvirus of parakeets.
This article is from Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 20, no. 2 (March 2008): 235–238, doi:10.1177/104063870802000217.