Sporadic outbreaks of Pigeon Paramyxovirus (PPMV-1) occur in domestic pigeons and wild birds throughout Ireland and this increases the risk of Newcastle Disease in poultry in Ireland. Newcastle Disease can cause severe illness and death in pigeons, ornamental birds and in poultry, both commercial and backyard. An outbreak in birds used for meat production or eggs, be that commercial or backyard would have serious implications. All the birds in the affected holdings would have to be euthanised, and movement restrictions would have to be imposed on all holdings with birds, within a 10 km radius of the affected holding.
Since the beginning of July, four outbreaks of the disease have been confirmed in pigeons, both racing and ornamental. Three of the cases were detected in the Southwest, the other was detected in Northeast. This indicates the risk of an outbreak of Newcastle Disease is higher. Control measures have been put in place on the affected premises to ensure that the risk of the disease spreading outside these holdings is reduced.
DAFM is advising all bird owners/keepers to be extra vigilant; to ensure birds are vaccinated against Newcastle’s Disease where possible (racing pigeon owners are reminded that vaccination of racing pigeons is compulsory – European Communities (Newcastle Disease) Regulations 2012 – SI No. 57 of 2012) and to prevent contact between domestic and wild birds. Biosecurity information is available in the Links and Documents section below.
Bird owners and keepers are also reminded that suspicion of the presence of Newcastle Disease in any bird species must be notified to DAFM. If you suspect the presence of Newcastle Disease you must contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine without delay. Inside normal office hours contact your local Regional Veterinary Office by phone or LO CALL 0761 064 400. Outside normal office hours ring the national disease emergency hotline number 1850 200 456.
The clinical signs in affected birds can be very variable. Further information on clinical signs can be accessed using the following link
The virus associated with Newcastle Disease can cause cases of conjunctivitis and flu-like symptoms in humans. Humans pick up the disease generally by handling or being in the same air space as the affected birds. The disease in humans is generally self-limiting but anyone who suspects they may have contracted the disease should contact their doctor.