Long-term Study of Chlamydophilosis in Slovenia


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Abstract

Immune reactivity for Chlamydophila (C.) psittaci in Slovenia was monitored in parrots, canaries, finches and nine species of recently captured free-living birds (house sparrows, Eurasian goldfinches, tree sparrows, chaffinches, European greenfinches, European serines, Eurasian siskins, Eurasian linnets and Eurasian bullfinches) in the period from 1991 to 2001. In subsequent years, specific IgG antibodies were found using immunofluorescence in parrots (0.7– 53.6%), canaries (0.0–3.5%), finches (0.0–5.7%) and in captured free-living birds (33.3% of Eurasian goldfinches in 1994). An experimental infection with C. psittaci was performed in order to study clinical signs and pathological changes in canaries and finches. The C. psittaci strain used for experimental infection was isolated from a cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus). Chlamydial DNA was extracted from clinical material followed by RFLP-PCR analysis. Infection of canaries and finches was confirmed in organ smears by direct immunofluorescence and a modified Gimenez staining method. In addition, serological tests of indirect immunofluorescence and complement fixation were applied. However, in spite of positive immunological reaction there were no clinical signs three weeks after infection. The present study includes results of a serological survey of persons belonging to the most important risk groups (breeders, pet shopkeepers and veterinarians). The results of microimmunofluorescence to identify the presence of specific antibodies and correlation between appearance of infection in birds and important risk groups are presented. Out of 143 persons belonging to the high-risk group we found 10 (7%) persons who were immunologically positive. Testing of two successive samples was used to demonstrate an increase in IgG and IgA titres in human sera. However, IgM, which is indicative of acute infection, could not be detected.

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