Pigeon Keepers on Newcastle Disease Alert

IRELAND - The Department of Agriculture reports four cases of Newcastle Disease, which has affected racing pigeons in Cork.
calendar icon 15 August 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Racing pigeon enthusiasts across the south are on high alert after an outbreak of a potentially devastating avian disease in Cork, reports Irish Examiner.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that it has noted four reported cases of the highly contagious Newcastle Disease, which has affected racing pigeons in Cork.

The outbreak has so far been confined to mainly urban areas.

Spokesperson for Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, said: "The most recent case was more than 10 days ago. The department is closely monitoring the situation and is working with the full co-operation of the local club.

"Newcastle Disease is a notifiable disease and the first symptom is usually conjunctivitis."

Animals showing signs of the disease should be quarantined.

Brian O'Leary, a member of the Cork Southern Branch of the Irish Homing Union who has raced pigeon for 40 years, said he was aware of a couple of cases where new members had had scares but they had been given the all-clear.

He said most experienced members would have their birds vaccinated and he said he himself had vaccinated thousands.

Mr O'Leary said that, for the sake of €25 to immunise a large number of birds, it was not worth forgoing the vaccine.

The disease can be also be passed onto poultry.

"The chicken industry in this country is too big and you could not allow it to become infected," said Mr O'Leary.

According to Irish Examiner, exposure to infected birds can cause mild conjunctivitis and mild influenza-like symptoms in humans but the virus otherwise poses no risk to human health.

Further Reading

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