During November 2002, six double-crested cormorants (DCCs; Phalacrocorax auritus) were found moribund in Big Pine Key, FL, exhibiting clinical signs indicative of neurologic disease. Postmortem diagnostic evaluations were performed on two adult birds. Virulent Newcastle disease virus (NDV) was isolated from a cloacal swab from cormorant 1. West Nile virus (WNV) was isolated from the brain and lung of cormorant 2. Nucleotide sequence analysis of a portion of the fusion (F) protein gene of the NDV cormorant isolate revealed it shared a 100% deduced amino acid identity with only two viruses: the 1992 epizootic cormorant isolate from Minnesota and the 1992 turkey isolate from North Dakota. The epidemiologic significance of the recognition of virulent NDV on cormorant wintering grounds during a nonepizootic period, in addition to the potential implications of the concurrent isolation of NDV and WNV from cormorants, is discussed.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2