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Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is a bacterial pathogen affecting wild and domestic birds in North America. This disease targets the respiratory organs, can cause conjunctivitis, and infectious sinusitis in a variety of birds. In wild birds, disease transmission primarily occurs at communal foraging areas, such as bird feeders. Although wild birds do not usually show MG symptoms (with the notable exception of the house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)), they remain potential reservoirs for the disease. In domestic birds, on the other hand, MG can easily spread both vertically and horizontally leading to decreased egg production and growth rate for infected birds. This results in costly financial losses for the poultry industry, therefore easy disease detection of MG is economically valuable. Current detection techniques focus on swabbing of mucus tissue of living or recently deceased birds. The swabbed sample is then analyzed by serum plate agglutination (SPA) tests, hemagglutination inhibition tests (HI), or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). However, we wanted to use molecular techniques to gather data on the prevalence of MG in North Georgia song birds. As our university is a federal depository for deceased wild birds from the general public, and through a partnership with Atlanta Audubon Project Safe Flight, we have access to a variety of native and migrating birds in North Georgia. For analysis, organs that could be potential reservoirs for MG were harvested and analyzed using molecular techniques. Using PCR and gel electrophoresis detection of MG, we have found that that 3.33% of samples from wild birds were positive for MG (n=150).


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  • Event location
    • Cleveland Ballroom

  • Event date
    • 2 November 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022