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Avian Reovirus Found in First Wild Bird

11 March 2015, at 10:48am

UK – Detailed post mortems have confirmed avian reovirus (ARV) has killed its first wild bird in southern England.

Government funded surveillance by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the Zoological (ZSL) Society of London identified ARV in a dead Magpie in a Buckinghamshire garden.

Necrosis of the bird’s liver and spleen had caused the death.

Two other magpies were seen with similar illnesses at the same site but their carcasses could not be recovered for investigation. Specialists suspect ARV was also to blame for the two deaths.

Wild corvid mortality (crow family) from ARV is recorded in North America and continental Europe, according to Becki Lawson, a ZSL research veterinarian.

APHA’s head of scanning surveillance, Richard Irvine said awareness means threats can now be managed.

He said: “Avian reoviruses can cause a range of disease presentations in poultry, captive and wild bird species, and until now ARV has not been reported as a disease of magpies or other wild birds in Great Britain.

“Continued veterinary surveillance activities, performed in partnership, help us to identify changes in the patterns of livestock and wildlife health, including novel disease presentations such as this.”