Increased mortality and decreased egg production associated with disseminated lymphoma were observed in a turkey breeding flock for more than 20 weeks. A few unrelated meat turkey flocks, from the same integrator, experienced increased condemnation due to neoplasia in a few organs. Lymphoma was characterized by a uniform population of large lymphocytes with large vesicular nuclei containing one or two nucleoli and with little, faintly staining, basophilic cytoplasm. Neoplastic cells replaced normal tissue and were consistent with lesions seen with reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV) infection. Immunoperoxidase and fluorescent antibody staining characterized the neoplastic cells as CD3+, CD4+ and CD8- lymphocytes. Infection with REV was confirmed by virus isolation, polymerase chain reaction, serology and indirect fluorescent antibody. Poults hatched from these breeders tested positive for REV antibodies at hatch, but the performance of these flocks was normal and lymphoma was not observed. The origin of REV infection in this outbreak could not be determined. This is the first documented report of T-cell lymphomas associated with REV in commercial flocks. Furthermore, this is the first time that lymphomas have been characterized as T helper cells (CD3+ CD4+ and CD8-) in an outbreak of REV in turkeys.
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