Is Avian Mycoplasmosis infecting the Song Birds?

Updated: Jul 17

Other names: Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, Finch conjunctivitis, Infectious sinusitis

Below excerpts from Northeast Wildlife Disease Cooperative

Cause Of the 23 species of Mycoplasma bacteria known to infect birds, Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is the most significant to wild species. Until recently, MG was only known to cause disease in domestic poultry and occasionally wild turkeys. In the winter of 1994 there was an outbreak of mycoplasmal conjunctivitis caused by MG in house finches in the mid-Atlantic United States. The strain of MG isolated from the house finches differed from the strain that causes disease in poultry, so the source of the outbreak is currently unknown. Clinical Signs House finches with mycoplasmal conjunctivitis will exhibit swelling around the eyes, crusty eyelids, and watery ocular and/or nasal discharge. Extreme swelling and crusting can lead to impaired vision and at times blindness. In severe cases, birds may become debilitated, depressed, lose body condition, and die. Some birds can act as carriers of MG while showing no clinical signs of the disease. Wild turkeys infected with MG often experience swelling of the sinuses around the eyes, which may impair vision. Turkeys also may exhibit sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, depression, and weight loss.

Species Affected MG was once considered a pathogen primarily of domestic chickens, where it can cause major economic loss, wild and domestic turkeys, and captive game birds. MG emerged as a new infectious agent of songbirds in the 1990’s and is now known to infect house finches, American goldfinches, purple finches, pine grosbeaks, and evening grosbeaks. MG is not known to infect humans. Read the full article at the NWDC website at :

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