Disease in Wild Birds Could be Avian Pox

CALIFORNIA, US - Experts have noted an outbreak of what is thought to be avian pox in wild birds in the Coachella Valley of southern California.
calendar icon 9 June 2009
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Birds in some parts of the Coachella Valley are developing wart-like growths around their eyes and beaks that could be symptoms of a viral bird disease, according to The Desert Sun.

"It seems to be avian pox," said Linda York, executive director of the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center in Indio. "It's been going around. There's been pockets here and there."

The disease is not harmful to humans or other animals, she said, but can be deadly among birds, especially house finches.

Ms York has received calls reporting sightings of afflicted birds from La Quinta, Palm Desert and Palm Springs.

Avian pox is relatively slow-spreading and occurs on the unfeathered parts of a bird's body, according to The Desert Sun. The pox lesions are small, wart-like growths that usually appear around the beak and eye area. Small eruptions are seen first, then increase in size. The surfaces become rough and dry and their colour changes to dark brown, according to the University of California Division of Agricultural Sciences. After two to four weeks, a dry scab forms, loosens and drops off.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on avian pox (fowl pox) by clicking here.
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