Paramyxovirus in pigeons
A paramyxovirus not previously reported in Australia has been detected by authorities in pigeons in Victoria and New South Wales.
For the latest information on this situation, visit:
What are the symptoms in pigeons?
The general symptoms in pigeons include:
- gastrointestinal and neurological signs
- not flying
- vomiting a white tinged fluid
- death within three days of infection.
Does it affect other birds?
Virulent strains of paramyxovirus are capable of infecting other avian species. There are currently no detections of paramyxovirus in commercial or backyard poultry flocks.
There is no threat to cats, dogs, horses or other livestock that come in contact with infected pigeons.
Human infection with the virus is extremely rare and usually occurs only in people who have close direct contact with infected birds. The virus can cause mild, short-term conjunctivitis.
It is crucial that all bird owners practise good biosecurity to prevent further spread of the virus, and to assist in containment efforts. This includes commercial producers, hobbyists and backyard owners. Priority biosecurity measures:
- Keep your equipment and poultry yard or aviary clean
- Avoid contact between your birds and wild birds
- Do not let feed and water become contaminated by faeces or other animal waste
- Limit visitors to your birds
- Quarantine new birds
- Practise good hygiene at bird shows/events. (You should check with your state or territory department of primary industries to see if bird events/races are currently permitted.)
More information on bird biosecurity is available on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) website.
Report sick or dead pigeons
If you have or see pigeons displaying symptoms of the virus, or numerous dead pigeons, immediately phone the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888. This will put you in contact with your state or territory department of primary industries.
There are no penalties for reporting. It is critical that outbreaks are reported to prevent further spread of the virus, and to assist in eradication efforts.
For more information
Victorian Government—Department of Primary Industries
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
- Paramyxovirus advice for bird owners
- Paramyxovirus advice for bird owners (in Arabic)
- Protect your flock from new pigeon virus
- Protect your flock from new pigeon virus (in Arabic)
Queensland Government Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries
Government of South Australia
- Pigeon owners urged to be vigilant against virus –5 July 2012
- Restrictions on pigeon movements due to virus – 29 June 2012
- New pigeon virus confirmed in NSW – 4 May 2012
- Virus detected in pigeon flocks in Victoria – 5 September 2011
- Pigeon fanciers urged to ‘keep birds at home’ as virus strikes interstate – 6 September 2011
- Movement of pigeons into SA prohibited –14 September 2011