A large commercial flock of Hungarian partridge (Perdix perdix) experienced elevated mortality associated with a wasting disease in May 1998. Postmortem examination of females consistently revealed a distended crop and abnormal gray-white tissue infiltrating the wall of the crop and thoracic esophagus. Neoplasia in male partridge was observed in the liver. Microscopic examination of the crop and thoracic esophagus revealed transmural masses of immature lymphocytes with frequent mitotic figures. Similar cells were observed in the liver of affected males. Virus particles consistent in size and morphology with reticuloendotheliosis virions were observed in neoplastic lymphoid cells via electron microscopy. Reticuloendotheliosis virus was isolated from each of four blood samples. This disease has not previously been reported in Hungarian partridges. Hungarian partridge may represent a potential reservoir of infection for other gamebirds, including prairie chickens.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2