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    Mycobacterium avium is a zoonotic pathogen associated with a wide range of pulmonary and extrapulmonary manifestations in a range of host species like humans, animals, and birds. The disease is more common in the avian population, and opportunistic infections have been reported in immune-compromised or debilitated animals and humans. This study reports the pathological and molecular identification of Mycobacterium avium causing avian mycobacteriosis in a loft of domestic pigeons (Columba livia var. domestica). Out of 30 pigeons aged 2-3 years, ten adult racing pigeons revealed a severe chronic and debilitating disease followed by death. The clinical signs included chronic emaciation, dullness, ruffled feathers, lameness, and greenish, watery diarrhea. Post-mortem examination of birds revealed multifocal gray- to yellow-colored raised nodules in the liver parenchyma, spleen, lungs, intestines, bone marrow, and joints. Avian mycobacteriosis was suspected based on the tissue impression smears stained by Ziehl-Neelsen staining. Histopathological examination also revealed multifocal granulomatous lesions in affected organs, which is characteristic of avian mycobacteriosis. The PCR analysis based on 16S rRNA, IS1245, and IS901 regions suggested the presence of Mycobacterium avium infection belonging to either subspecies avium or sylvaticum. This is the first detailed report of avian mycobacteriosis in pigeons from India, warranting a strict surveillance program to identify the carrier status of these microorganisms in the pigeons, which may prove a fatal zoonotic infection in humans. © 2023. The Author(s) under exclusive licence to Sociedade Brasileira de Microbiologia.


    Asok Kumar Mariappan, Karikalan Mathesh, Sankar Muthu, Mukesh Bhatt, Megha Sharma, G Saikumar, Kuldeep Dhama. Pathological and molecular identification of Mycobacterium avium infection in a loft of domestic pigeons (Columba livia var. domestica) from India. Brazilian journal of microbiology : [publication of the Brazilian Society for Microbiology]. 2023 Sep;54(3):2521-2526

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    PMID: 37227627

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