SUMMARY. Neural signs (torticollis, drowsiness) and mortality were observed in five chickens of a native chicken flock (reared for meat) that included 450 male birds on a farm that had 2300 native chickens and 1120 layers. Histologic lesions were observed in the medulla oblongata, optic lobe, cerebellum, and spinal cord of the affected birds. The lesions, which were most severe in the medulla oblongata, were massive abscesses with rarefaction (demyelination and malacia) of the parenchyma with gram-positive bacteria. The degenerative and necrotic areas were characterized by fibrin thrombosis, hemorrhages, and congestion in the blood vessels. Immunohistochemically, the bacteria positive for L. monocytogenes antigen were observed in the medulla oblongata, cerebellum, and spinal cord. Ultrastructurally, the small rod-shaped and thin-cell-walled bacteria were observed in the parenchyma of the medulla oblongata. Listeria monocytogenes (serotype 4b) was isolated from the medulla oblongata and spinal cord. The pathogenesis of listerial encephalitis in chickens was discussed.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4