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Research Article

Molecular Detection of Avian Pathogens in Poultry Red Mite ( Collected in Chicken Farms


Poultry red mite (PRM, Dermanyssus gallinae) is a blood-sucking ectoparasite as well as a possible vector of several avian pathogens. In this study, to define the role of PRM in the prevalence of avian infectious agents, we used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to check for the presence of seven pathogens: Avipox virus (APV), Fowl Adenovirus (FAdV), Marek’s disease virus (MDV), Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae (ER), Salmonella enterica (SE), Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) and Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). A total of 159 PRM samples collected between 2004 and 2012 from 142 chicken farms in 38 prefectures in Japan were examined. APV DNA was detected in 22 samples (13.8%), 19 of which were wild-type APV. 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) of MS was detected in 15 samples (9.4%), and the mgc2 gene of MG was detected in 2 samples (1.3%). Eight of 15 MS 16S rRNA sequences differed from the vaccine sequence, indicating they were wild-type strains, while both of the MG mgc2 gene sequences detected were identical to the vaccine sequences. Of these avian pathogen-positive mite samples, three were positive for both wild-types of APV and MS. On the other hand, the DNAs of ER, SE, FAdV and MDV were not detected in any samples. These findings indicated that PRM can harbor the wild-type pathogens and might play a role as a vector in spreading these diseases in farms.