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Research comment
Parrot bornavirus infection: correlation with neurological signs and feather picking?
  1. Masayuki Horie
  1. Hakubi Center for Advanced Research/Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
  1. email: horie.masayuki.3m{at}

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Borna disease virus is the causative agent of Borna disease, which is characterised by nonsuppurative meningoencephalomyelitis caused by cellular immune responses against the viral antigens.1 This virus has been extensively studied because of its relevance to both human and animal health.2-4 It was the only virus known in the family Bornaviridae until 2008, when genetically diverse avian bornaviruses (ABVs) were detected in psittacine birds with proventricular dilatation disease (PDD).

PDD is a fatal disease observed in psittacine birds and was first described as macaw wasting disease in the 1970s. Since then, PDD and PDD-like diseases have been reported in more than 80 species of birds, including non-psittacine birds such as toucans, waterfowl and canaries.5,6 PDD-affected birds show gastrointestinal signs such as undigested food in the faeces, vomiting, and weight loss and/or neurological signs such as depression, ataxia and blindness.7 Histopathologically, PDD is characterised by lymphoplasmacytic infiltration in the peripheral and/or central nervous system.7 Such inflammation and the resultant destruction of myenteric nerves are considered to be the cause of gastrointestinal dysfunction.6

Although PDD had been considered an infectious disease for many years, the aetiological agent remained unknown until ABVs were discovered. Two reports published at almost the …

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