New Pigeon Virus Confirmed in NSW

AUSTRALIA - Pigeon paramyxovirus has been detected in a hobby pigeon flock in Western Sydney and follows numerous cases of the virus in domestic and feral pigeons in Victoria.
calendar icon 7 May 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

"The property has been placed in quarantine and tracing is now underway to confirm the origin of the virus," NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said.

"It is believed that the virus may have been transmitted following the introduction of a new pigeon into the flock from Victoria late last month.

"The affected flock consists of around 100 pigeons.

"Swabs from the sick birds were sent to NSW DPI’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute for laboratory analysis and results confirmed Pigeon paramyxovirus.

"Further samples have been forwarded to the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong to confirm whether this virus is the same strain which is circulating in Victoria."

Mr Roth said it is important that pigeon owners put in place good biosecurity practices to reduce the likelihood of further cases in NSW.

"Good biosecurity, including preventing direct or indirect contact with other racing, fancy or wild pigeons can minimise the risk," Mr Roth said.

"The first signs are usually increased thirst and diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and reluctance to move and fly.

"Pigeon paramyxovirus also causes neurological symptoms such as trembling of the wings and head, tumbling on landing, partial paralysis of the wings and legs and head flicking before death.

"Bird owners should seek advice from their private veterinarian on using poultry vaccine to minimse the risk of infection."

Ways to protect your flock:

  • Do not take birds to shows, fairs or race meets,
  • Do not trade or introduce new birds,
  • If you must introduce new birds or take birds to races or shows, isolate them for 14 days (feed and water these isolated birds last and wash and change afterwards),
  • Keep your aviary, loft and equipment clean,
  • Disinfect equipment used to house, transport, feed or water other birds,
  • Prevent wild birds (and their dropping) from having contact with your birds,
  • Prevent feed and water being contaminated by animal or bird waste,
  • Limit visitors to your birds,
  • Disinfect your boots/shoes and wash your hand and clothes if you visit other birds.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

- Find out more information on pigeon paramyxovirus by clicking here.
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