In 1967, the first confirmed diagnosis of duck plague (DP) in the USA was made from pekin ducks (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus) on commercial duck farms on Long Island, New York. Within 10 mo, DP was confirmed as the cause of death in migratory waterfowl on a Long Island bay. This paper reviews 120 DP epizootics reported from 1967 to 1995 that involved waterfowl species native to North America or were reported in areas with free-flying waterfowl at risk. Duck plague epizootics occurred in 21 states with the greatest number reported in Maryland (29), New York (18), California (16), and Pennsylvania (13). The greatest frequency of epizootics (86%) was detected during the months of March to June. At least 40 waterfowl species were affected with the highest frequency of epizootics reported in captive or captive-reared ducks including muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) (68%), mallard ducks (A. platyrhynchos) (18%) and black ducks (A. rubripes) (14%). The greatest number of waterfowl died in three epizootics that involved primarily migratory birds in 1967 and 1994 in New York (USA) and 1973 in South Dakota (USA). The greatest number of DP epizootics reported since 1967 appear to have involved flocks of non-migratory rather than migratory waterfowl; therefore, in our opinion it remains unknown if DP is enzootic in either non-migratory or migratory waterfowl.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2