Pigeon virus alert – Friday 16 February 2017

Pigeon owners should be alert to potential signs of a rotavirus following an outbreak in several Australian states, including New South Wales.

The disease has the potential to cause significant pigeon mortality if it does reach Canberra. Some affected lofts have seen mortality rates up to about 30%.

There is currently no suitable vaccine to prevent rotavirus infection, although an Australian-produced vaccine could be available within the next 12 months.

Signs of the disease in affected birds include vomiting, diarrhoea, regurgitation and hunched postures. Birds that have appeared sick usually have died within 12 to 24 hours, with deaths in affected lofts continuing for approximately seven days.

There are several measures pigeon owners can do to help prevent the spread of the disease. These include:

  • contacting a vet as soon as possible if pigeons seem to be impacted
  • avoid mixing pigeons from affected and unaffected lofts or from coming into contact with feral pigeons
  • practising good hygiene including cleaning clothing and boots after contact with other pigeons.

For more information, people can contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.