Lymphoproliferative Disease

This fact sheet was updated on 11/4/2020.

Other names: LPDV

Cause

Lymphoproliferative Disease (LPDV), caused by a retrovirus, results in tumor formation in internal organs and the skin in several species of fowl.

Significance

Known to occur in domestic turkeys in Europe and Israel, LPDV was first recognized in wild North American turkeys in 2009 in Arkansas.

LPDV is widespread in the wild turkey population of North America but there is little evidence that the disease it is having a negative impact on wild turkey populations. In addition, it currently does not appear to pose a serious threat to the domestic poultry industry.

Species Affected

LPDV affects domestic chickens as well as both domestic and wild turkeys. In North America, the LPDV appears to only cause infections in wild turkeys.

Distribution

Domestic fowl are affected by LPDV in the UK, Austria, the Netherlands and Israel. In the US recent research has shown that LPDV is endemic in the wild turkey population. It has been diagnosed in 18 states which encompass an area similar to what is considered to be the natural distribution of wild turkeys.

Transmission

It is believed that the disease is transmitted horizontally between birds that have had direct contact.

Clinical Signs

In wild turkeys, LPDV causes the formation of tumors in internal organs which can result in disorientation, weakness, lethargy, starvation and death. Scabby nodules on the skin of the legs and head are also seen.

Mortality associated with LPDV in wild birds, though reported is thought to be rare.

Diagnosis

Multiple tan nodules in the organs, enlarged spleen and liver, thickening of the intestinal wall and pox-like skin nodules are suggestive of LPDV infection. Turkeys with this disease may also have concurrent infection with Avian Pox virus, though the relationship between these viruses is currently unclear.

Laboratory testing, specifically PCR, is used to detect the virus in blood or tissue.

Treatment

No treatment is available.

Management

Because turkeys are ­flocking birds, proximity is an important risk factor. Practices that bring birds together such as feeding will lead to the spread of the disease if the virus is present.

Images

Cases of LPDV in the U.S.Cases of LPDV in the United States. Map courtesy of Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study
Wild turkey with head nodules caused by LPDVWild turkey with head nodules caused by LPDV, courtesy Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study
Wild turkey with leg nodulesWild turkey with leg nodules caused by LPDV, courtesy Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study
Tan nodules on liver of wild turkey with LPDVTan nodules on liver of wild turkey with LPDV, photo courtesy of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study