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Avian Paramyxovirus Detected in Pigeon Flocks

by 5m Editor
6 September 2011, at 9:26am

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA - The rare killer pigeon virus has been detected in hobby flocks for the first time.

Victorian veterinary authorities are being asked to check the health of pigeons and poultry after a rare virus was detected in pigeons for the first time in Australia, according to Herald Sun.

Avian paramyxovirus has been detected in a number of pigeon flocks in Victoria, resulting in the deaths of several hobby flocks.

Australian chief veterinary officer, Mark Schipp, said affected birds had died suddenly in large numbers, sometimes appeared tired or had shown neurological signs such as circling or head flicking before death.

He said the virus causes only mild, short-term conjunctivitis or influenza-like symptoms.

Dr Shipp said: "Human infection with this virus is extremely rare and usually occurs only in people who have close direct contact with infected birds."

At this stage, there are no reports of the virus causing disease in wild birds but the Australian Wildlife Health Network has been asked to monitor the situation.

Victoria is managing the outbreak in conjunction with industry and other veterinary authorities and a national consultative committee on emergency animal disease has met twice to discuss quarantine measures for properties affected.

Herald Sun adds that anyone concerned about their pigeons or birds should contact an experienced poultry vet, local agriculture authority or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch hotline on 1800 675 888.