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Queensland Bans Pigeons from Victoria

by 5m Editor
20 October 2011, at 1:36am

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA - Queensland has banned imports of pigeons from the state of Victoria, following outbreaks of avian paramyxovirus (Newcastle disease) there.

Queensland has joined other states in banning imports of Victorian pigeons, pigeon eggs, and fittings such as cages and egg boxes used with pigeons, to prevent the introduction of a virus.

Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Rick Symons, said in recent weeks, avian paramyxovirus had caused illness and deaths in 44 pigeon flocks around Melbourne and northern Victoria.

"Most affected flocks have been fancy breeds, but a small number of racing pigeon flocks have also been affected," Dr Symons said. "The disease has also been found in wild pigeons at sites near infected lofts. So far, no other species of birds have been affected."

Avian paramyxovirus occurs widely around the world but the recent Victorian infections are the first detections in Australia. The disease is spread mainly by the movement of birds.

The Victorian Department of Primary Industries has banned aggregations of pigeons, such as for shows, exhibitions and races.

Dr Symons said the disease had spread in Victoria by the movement of pigeons.

He said: "The Queensland ban on Victorian pigeons is designed to protect our birds. I am calling on pigeon associations and racing clubs to postpone shows, exhibitions and races until the current risk is resolved.

"Queensland pigeon owners should avoid introducing any birds or mixing their birds with those of other flocks to prevent disease spread. Owners should also be vigilant for any signs of ill-health."

If unusual signs of disease occur in pigeons or other birds, or a number die within a short time, you should immediately seek veterinary advice and report the incident to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 (business hours) or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline (after hours) on 1800 675 888.

Further information, including recommendations for protecting flocks, is available online [click here].

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Newcastle disease by clicking here.