In 1994 Mycoplasma gallisepticum was found to be the etiologic agent of House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) conjunctivitis, a rapidly expanding epidemic caused by a genetically discrete, House Finch–associated strain of M. gallisepticum (HFMG). While most prominent in House Finches, HFMG has been reported in other members of the family Fringillidae, including American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis), Purple Finches (Haemorhous purpureus), Pine Grosbeaks (Pinicola enucleator), and Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus). Herein we report two new potential host species of HFMG strain, the Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria), belonging to the Fringillidae family, and the Western (California) Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica), belonging to the Corvidae family. The latter is one of only two reports of HFMG being found outside the Fringillidae family, and of these is the only one reported outside of captivity. Furthermore, non-HFMG M. gallisepticum was identified in an American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), indicating presence of additional strains in wild birds. Strain typing of M. gallisepticum isolates was done via HFMG-specific quantitative PCR analysis and validated using random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. Our results suggested an expanded host range of HFMG strain, and further suggested that the host range of HFMG was not limited to members of the family Fringillidae.
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Vol. 54 • No. 1