Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is one of the most important viral diseases affecting parrot species worldwide. Outbreaks of PBFD have been reported in wild endemic and endangered South African Cape Parrots (Poicephalus robustus), most recently in 2008. A previous study of wild Cape Parrots in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa in 2010–11 found 34/49 birds positive for beak and feather disease virus (BFDV), the causative agent of PBFD, showing that the outbreak was still ongoing. The present study (2015–16) screened 30 blood samples from the same Cape Parrot population for BFDV infection by PCR: all parrots were found to be BFDV DNA-negative, which showed both that BFDV infection in the region has declined and that the parrot population has recovered. Our data contribute to the important negative data set which permits monitoring the progress of BFDV infections in wild Psittaciformes. We recommend a PCR method with universal BFDV primers as a quick, easy, and consistent diagnostic test for BFDV detection.
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Vol. 58 • No. 4