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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Paramyxovirus found in wild pigeons

12 December 2013

The Department of the Environment has contacted Jersey’s racing pigeon club to remind them to ensure they have up to date vaccinations for paramyxovirus. It follows laboratory confirmation that the virus was present in a flock of about 30 wild pigeons in St John in November.

There have been no reports of the disease, or suspicion of its presence, in domestic poultry or racing pigeons but the club is being asked to make members aware that the virus is present in Jersey, and to take precautions.

The States Veterinary Officer, Linda Lowseck, said “Paramyxovirus is present in the UK wild pigeon population but has not been seen in Jersey for more than 25 years. While it is extremely small, there is a risk of paramyxovirus transferring from wild pigeons to domestic poultry and racing pigeons and we want to ensure pigeon owners take the usual precautions.

“In domestic poultry paramyxovirus can lead to Newcastle Disease, which is much more serious and which we want to avoid.”

Paramyxovirus vaccination

Owners are being advised to ensure that their racing pigeons have been vaccinated and that there is no risk of close contact between their pigeons and wild pigeons.

A member of the public reported seeing suspicious signs in a flock of about 30 wild pigeons in St John. Subsequently, laboratory tests confirmed that one of the wild birds had paramyxovirus which affects the nervous system.

Details of the disease, and what to do to address it, are on the Defra site.

Paramyxovirus guide on the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs website

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