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    Pigeons in Peril


    by NTDTelevision

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    Bird breeders in Australia are concerned at the outbreak of a new strain of bird flu, thats already decimated flocks of pigeons in Victoria. It could spread to other states, and infect a variety of bird species.

    A new strain of avian paramyxovirus has been detected in Victoria, Australia.

    It has caused the death of several flocks of domesticated pigeons during the last week.

    Authorities are taking steps to contain the disease, as there are fears that it could spread.

    [Dr. Colin Walker, Veterinarian Bird Specialist]:
    "Our commercial poultry aren't affected, but this virus could get into them and the effect for that industry financially could be very costly."


    [Dr. Colin Walker, Veterinarian Bird Specialist]:
    "The current means of control is just to identify infected properties, and impose quarantine, which just means that birds can't move in or out of those properties, and I guess at the moment that policy just continues until the full extent of the virus becomes established."

    In the 1990's, Newcastle disease which is caused by a paramyxovirus, almost wiped out the poultry industry in the adjacent state of New South Wales.

    [Dr. Colin Walker, Veterinarian Bird Specialist]:
    "Who knows what the species range might be. It could get into fairy wrens, fairy penguins, even emus."

    In rare cases it can transmit to humans and cause flu like symptoms and conjunctivitis.

    [Dr. Colin Walker, Veterinarian Bird Specialist]:
    "Look, it's a fascinating thing. Out of all the potential species that paramyxovirus can go to, the only mammal species that it has been shown it can go to is humans."

    So far, no other bird species are showing signs of the virus, with good preventative measures in place, authorities hope the virus will die out naturally.

    NTD News, Melbourne, Australia