Pigeon paramyxovirus

Pigeon paramyxovirus infects pigeons mostly but can infect other species of birds.

Up to 75% of birds infected with paramyxovirus die within 3 days.It is therefore a nationally notifiable disease where disease suspicion in South Australia must be notified to PIRSA under the Livestock Act 1997.

Pigeon paramyxovirus is not considered a human health risk.

Symptoms in pigeons

Symptoms include:
  • lethargy
  • not wanting to fly
  • vomiting white tinged fluid
  • circling or head flicking
  • sudden death.

Symptoms in other bird species

Symptoms of paramyxovirus vary in different bird species. The avian paramyxovirus infection shows signs that are:

  • respiratory
  • gastrointestinal
  • neurological.

Symptoms may include some or all of the following:

  • diarrhoea
  • gasping
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • tremors
  • paralysed wings
  • twisted necks
  • circling
  • spasms
  • paralysis
  • drop in egg production.

Reporting paramyxovirus

Contact your local veterinarian or phone the Animal Disease Hotline immediately on 1800 675 888 if your birds are showing any of the symptoms listed above.

Preventing paramyxovirus

Keep your equipment, poultry yard, and aviary clean by:
  • removing litter, sand, and grit from the aviary between batches of birds
  • clean aviaries thoroughly with soapy water and disinfect as necessary
  • clean and disinfect feed and water containers regularly
  • clean and disinfect any equipment that is from other bird keepers.

Prevent contact between your birds and wild birds by:

  • restricting access to open ponds, lakes, and creeks
  • using protective netting to stop wild birds entering domestic bird areas
  • reduce shelter and hiding places for wild birds in domestic bird areas
  • keep sick, injured, or lost pigeons separate from your own birds
  • keep feed and water free of animal waste
  • limit visitors to your birds
  • separate and monitor new birds for at least 30 days before introducing them to your existing flock.
Buy birds that are:
  • from a reputable producer or breeder
  • healthy looking
  • have had a veterinary examination.

Bird shows

Bird exhibitors can prevent spreading paramyxovirus by:
  • leaving sick birds at home
  • cleaning and disinfecting equipment before and after the show
  • not handling other birds
  • quarantining show birds when returning home for a minimum of 4 weeks
  • keeping a register of bird movements in and out of the premises.
Show organisers can prevent the spread of paramyxovirus by:
  • monitoring the current disease situation and cancelling the show if necessary
  • making sure all exhibitors are aware of the need to report symptoms of paramyxovirus
  • keeping adequate records of exhibitors and birds attending club meetings
  • keeping waterfowl separate from other types of birds
  • inspecting cages brought into the show to make sure they are clean
  • minimising public access to birds
  • isolating birds showing signs of illness
  • having a veterinarian available during the show
  • reporting sick or dead birds immediately to Biosecurity SA on 1800 675 888.
Judges can prevent spread of paramyxovirus by:
  • keeping clothes and equipment clean
  • disinfecting hands between handling birds.
Page Last Reviewed: 24 Jun 2019
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