Released 17/02/2017

The ACT Government today warned local pigeon owners to be alert to potential signs of a rotavirus following an outbreak in several Australian states, including New South Wales.

“The virus was first detected in Western Australia last year and given that it has more recently been confirmed in New South Wales we thought it timely to issue a general warning to local pigeon fanciers and breeders,” said Director, ACT Parks and Conservation Daniel Iglesias.

“As has been seen in other regions, 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%.

“Currently there is 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 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 ill
  • 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.

Mr Iglesias said that local pigeon breeders and vets are being informed of the potential for the disease outbreak. The ACT Government vet is monitoring the situation.

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

- Statement ends -

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