Seroprevalences of specific antibodies against avian pathogens in free-ranging ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) in Northwestern Germany
Infectious diseases in captive pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) are well known, but there is a lack of knowledge about occurrence and distribution of pathogens in free-ranging pheasants in Germany. We investigated 604 sera from hunted pheasants and 152 sera from wild caught pheasants between 2011 to 2015, with the aim to determine the prevalence of specific antibodies against different viruses: Avian influenza virus (AIV) of subtypes H5, H7, H9, paramyxovirus type 1 (PMV-1), avian encephalomyelitis virus (AEV), infectious bursitis disease virus (IBDV), infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV), avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) and Salmonella sp., Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) and Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). In addition, 178 caeca were investigated for Histomonas meleagridis. The study reveals an ongoing circulation of IBV in the wild pheasant population during the study. Also high seroprevalences of specific antibodies against aMPV depending on the area and a strong increase in prevalence of IBDV antibodies in sera of pheasants in Lower Saxony were detected. ILTV antibody prevalences differed between areas and AEV antibody detection differed between years significantly, whereas specific antibodies against PMV-1 could not be detected and antibodies against AIV-H5, -H7 and -H9 and Mycoplasma spp. were detected in very few cases.