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Avipoxvirus infection in peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) from a reintroduction programme in Germany
  1. O. Krone, DVM1,
  2. S. Essbauer, DB2,
  3. G. Wibbelt, DVM, MRCVS1,
  4. G. Isa, DVM3,
  5. M. Rudolph, PhD1 and
  6. R. E. Gough, DVM, FRCVS4
  1. 1 Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, PO Box 601103, D- 10252 Berlin, Germany
  2. 2 Consulting Laboratory for Poxviruses, WHO Centre for Collection and Evaluation of Data on Comparative Virology, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Infectious and Epidemic Diseases, Ludwig-Maximilian- University, Veterinaerstrasse 13, D-80539 Munich, Germany
  3. 3 Bavarian Animal Health Service, Senator- Gerauer-Strasse 23, D-85586 Poing, Germany
  4. 4 Veterinary Laboratories Agency — Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB


Poxvirus infections are common in domestic birds in Germany, but they are rare in birds of prey. Only species of falconidae imported from Arabian or Asian countries have so far tested positive for poxvirus, and, among these, only raptors kept for falconry. As part of a reintroduction programme in the northern county of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which is adjacent to the Baltic Sea, 21 young peregrine falcons were released into the wild; six of them died and one was examined postmortem, its tissues being examined by light and electron microscopy. In addition, an ELISA for fowipox, pigeonpox and canarypox was applied. No virus could be isolated and propagation in culture failed, but virus particles were detected by electron microscopy in lesions from its skin and tongue.

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