Poultry and pigeon holders warned of potential spread of contagious disease
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    Poultry and pigeon holders warned of potential spread of contagious disease

    UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
    A chicken displaying signs of Newcastle disease.
    UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

    A protection zone of 500 meters has been set up in Willemeau, Wallonia, after a pigeon was discovered to have the highly contagious Newcastle disease. While not dangerous to humans, Newcastle Disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects many species of domestic and wild birds to varying degrees.

    As a result of the discovery, all poultry and pigeon holders in the area have been asked to return the duly completed animal inventory form with proof of valid vaccination, within seven days, at the Animal Welfare Department in Tournai.

    Newcastle disease does not occur in humans from eating poultry products. In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild, and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.

    The disease can result in digestive, respiratory and/or nervous clinical signs, which range from a mild, almost inapparent respiratory disease to very severe depression, drop in egg production, increased respiration, profuse diarrhoea followed by collapse, or long-term nervous signs (such as twisted necks), if the birds survive. Severe forms of the disease are highly fatal.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times