Infections are usually restricted to pigeon lofts. However, occasionally virulent strains of this virus can infect poultry, causing Newcastle Disease.
Avian Avulavirus AAvV-1 (PPMV-1) is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it, you must report it immediately by contacting the DAERA helpline on 0300 200 7840 (Mon-Fri 9 am to 5 pm) or your local DAERA Direct Regional Office.
If you report suspicion of Avian Avulavirus AAvV-1, DAERA will investigate.
Current situation 29 November 2018
Avian Avulavirus has been detected in a hobby pigeon flock in Co. Tyrone. This follows two previous findings earlier this year in wild pigeons in Fermanagh and Tyrone. A veterinary investigation is currently ongoing and temporary restrictions have been put in place on the premises. Birds are restricted from the date notice served until at least 60 days after the cessation of clinical signs. The restriction also applies to pigeon manure and meal.
This is a timely reminder for all bird keepers to maintain high biosecurity standards, ensure all vaccinations are up to date and to remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flock.
Anyone concerned about their birds should contact their PVP or their local DAERA Direct Regional Office.
Further advice on good biosecurity can be found at the following link:
How to spot Avian Avulavirus infection
Signs of Avian Avulavirus infection in pigeons may include:
- nervous signs, including trembling wings and heads, and twisting of the neck
- partial paralysis of wings and legs (birds may fall over on landing and be unable to feed)
- unusually wet and liquidy faeces (diarrhoea) that are often greenish in colour
- quietness, loss of appetite and reluctance to move
- sudden death
The disease is very contagious so it is common for most of the pigeons sharing a loft to display clinical signs at the same time.
How Avian Avulavirus is spread
The disease is spread by direct contact between infected pigeons and non-infected pigeons and through:
- pigeon transporters that have not been adequately cleaned and disinfected
- drinking water in lofts and transporters
- pigeon fanciers carrying infection on their clothes, hands and feet
The disease can also be introduced to a loft of kept pigeons through contact with wild pigeons.
The disease can be spread to chickens if, for example, their feed is infected with the faeces of infected pigeons. In chickens, Avian Avulavirus can cause Newcastle Disease.
Preventing and controlling Avian Avulavirus infection in pigeons
You can help prevent the disease by:
- vaccinating your pigeons - talk to your vet for advice (if you run pigeons shows or races, you must ensure any bird taking part has been vaccinated)
- Practising strict biosecurity on your premises
If you organise a pigeon show or race you must make sure only vaccinated pigeons take part.
If you own racing pigeons, you must keep a record of vaccinations and of every show or race each bird takes part in.
You should also refer to the following AI guidance. While AI and Avian Avulavirus AAvV-1(Pigeon Paramyxovirus) are separate diseases, both are Notifiable Epizootic Avian Diseases and similar control/preventative measures apply to both diseases.
If the disease occurs in NI, the outbreak will be controlled in line with the Contingency Plan for Epizootic Diseases and the Notifiable Epizootic Avian Disease Control Strategy.