Newcastle disease is spreading in Russia, affecting pigeons. A Newcastle disease virus has been detected in a biological sample from a pigeon in the Tikhvin district of the Leningrad region, said Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary oversight service Rosselkhoznadzor.
Genetically-related viruses were detected in September and October in pigeons in and outside Vladimir, and in Uglich in Yaroslavl Region.
Rosselkhoznadzor warned that the bird population will grow in towns and cities as the winter is approaching, which is expected to create a favorable environment for infections and will require a set of prevention measures.
Infected birds lose appetite, develop digestive disorders, conjunctivitis and respiratory problems (coughing, sneezing, suffocating) and feel sleepy. The nervous system of the birds is affected, too (torticcolis, paresis, paralysis of the legs and wings), and they suffer motor dysfunction.
Hens, turkeys and guinea fowl are mostly affected, but the disease, diagnosed in several Russian regions, can also infect pigeons and other birds.
The identification of Newcastle disease in wild birds will not lead to curbs in the sales of domestic poultry and poultry products, Rosselkhoznadzor said.
But wild birds, including pigeons, should not be allowed to contact with domestic poultry, and the veterinary-sanitary standards must be strictly observed at poultry farms.
Newcastle disease is a contiguous bird disease which can cause serious economic and environmental damage. It regularly hits poultry farms in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The infection can pass from pigeons to hens.
Infected birds may be a health hazard to humans through direct contact.
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