BELOW IS THE LATEST :
National Rota Virus Update
24 October 2017
An Investigation into the effect of Rota virus on this year’s racing
Many federations around the country have experienced very poor returns this year. Suggestions have been made that this could at least be partially due to the fact that most birds racing this year have recovered from an earlier Rota virus infection. Could the Rota virus be compromising these birds ability to race competitively and return ? A successful fancier contacted the clinic. In one of the federations early club races he had had the fastest velocity in the federation. This had been a short race of 150 miles and had been an easy, high velocity race with a tail wind . But now that the race distances were getting longer and had been head wind flys, he, like the majority of members was experiencing very poor returns. He presented birds to the clinic to have this investigated. As his experiences were typical of many members this was seen as a good opportunity to investigate if Rota was involved or not. Because of this , the Greater Melbourne Pigeon Federation partially funded the investigation.
CLICK HERE FOR DIRECT LINK TO MELBOURNE BIRD VET CLINIC DR COLIN WALKER Pigeon Virus Update
Excellent interview, definitely well worth listening too, skip the first 15 minutes. Runs for 2 hours.
here's the radio interview with Colin Walker click on linkbelow
How are we going to make the birds immune ?
Now that we appear to have a diagnosis we need to figure out a way of developing an immunity to Reo in Australian pigeons so that racing and showing can occur this year. When a new disease gets into a naïve population the effect of that disease can be fairly dramatic . As time goes by the population will start to build up an immunity and the signs associated with the disease will become more vague and less severe. It is likely therefore that the impact of Reo will be greatest in the next 2 – 3 years. It will always be with us but it is likely that its effect will be less in the future
I have today spoken to Dr Chris Morrow of Bioproperties and Dr Peter Scott of Scolexia and the CCEAD ( Consultative Committee of Emergency Animal Disease ).
A number of points have been raised
1/ There are no Reo vaccines available in Australia. A disease called Infectious Bursal Disease in chickens is caused by a different virus but one that does share some similar surface proteins. Despite this, it is thought that no cross immunity would develop if this vaccine was used in pigeons
2/Reo vaccines are available overseas. These could be imported under permit. It is thought unlikely however that these would confer protective immunity in Australian pigeons
3/ A Reo vaccine could be made in Australia. This is possible and has the advantage that it would be made from the strain of Reo virus that is here. This is currently our best option. I have 2 companies in mind and will speak to each of them the first day that they reopen after the Xmas break
4/ Interferon development - interferon is a substance produced by the body either in response to viral infection or vaccination. Once produced interferon can help to protect the body against other viruses for a short time, usually about 2 weeks. It may be that vaccinating with a live vaccine, for example PMV ND4 in the face of an outbreak will reduce the severity of the disease and deaths caused by Reo virus. This may also occur after Salmonella vaccination, but it is thought that immune mediators such as interferon produced after vaccination for a bacterial disease may not be as effective as that produced after vaccination against a viral disease in this situation. Two WA fanciers who had recently vaccinated against Salmonella did however have much lower death rates in their birds than other fanciers
5/ As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the ability of some viruses to penetrate the bowel, enter the body and cause disease is affected by the population of bowel bacteria. There is anecdotal evidence that treating birds at the start of an outbreak with antibiotics may reduce the number of deaths
What to do if you think the virus has entered your loft
In the longer term the answer will be to make sure that your birds are vaccinated against Reo and don’t get sick in the first place but in the mean time
1/Start a course of Sulpha AVS (or another brand of trimethoprim/ sulphadiazine ) 3 grams to 4 L of water or enrofloxacin (eg “Baytril “ or “Enrotril “ 5 – 10 ml per L for 5 days ( at least )
2 /Consider vaccination with NDV 4 or Bioproperties Salmonella Vaccine
3/ Practice general good care ( as most of us do all the time anyway ) ie good hygiene, nutritious diet, no overcrowding particularly of babies, good parasite control, treat any diagnosed ( ie identified through accurate testing ) concurrent health problems in the loft. The aim here is simply to get the birds as healthy as we can so that they are best able to resist the virus. There is no need for dietary and other supplements if the above criteria are met.
I spoke to Agri Bio yesterday and the Electron Microscopy done at AAHL revealed large numbers of viral particles. Their appearance under the microscope is very suggestive of a Reo virus. The viral cultures are continuing and molecular techniques such as next generation gene sequencing are being organised to complete the viral ID process. It is probably not until the middle of the first week in January ( which is not that long ) until more information will be available. It is now only 10 days since our first cases in Victoria. Dr David Phalen of Sydney University, Dr Amir Noorohammadi of Melbourne University, the staff at AgriBio and AAHL and the office of Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Charles Milne, are all to be congratulated on the amazingly rapid progression of events
What is Reo Virus?
Reo viruses are widespread and are commonly found in many types of birds including chickens. In many cases it is hard to determine their importance . Sometimes they are there but appear not to be causing disease. Some Reo viruses however have been implicated in disease outbreaks. Reo viruses have been associated with disease in pigeons in Europe , China , South Africa and other countries. AgriBio are fairly confident that the virus they are seeing on the EM images is a Reo but have suggested that at the moment the diagnosis is only provisional. A definitive diagnosis will be made once the viral cultures and gene sequencing are complete. There are no Reo vaccines in Australia. There are however vaccines for similar viruses that may confer some cross immunity. We are seeking the advice of some vaccine specialists
Is the use of PMV vaccine in some way linked to the current problem?
The short answer is absolutely not. One of the principle aims of the 18 month PMV vaccine trial that was conducted in 2013 was to ensure that the suggested vaccine protocol did the pigeons no harm. None could be demonstrated. The test results passed the rigorous standards of the APVMA enabling Pfizer to register the vaccine for use in pigeons. The trial was also published in the prestigious peer reviewed Australian Veterinary Journal. These ultimate authorities were happy with the conclusions that the suggested protocol was not harmful to pigeons and conferred strong immunity. The killed La Sota based vaccine used in Australia is used in many counties around the world including the UK and USA.
Well congratulations to Dr Walker for bringing some clarity to what is happening to our pigeons around the country. For those that are confused I will try and make it as clear as possible in a summary of his radio interview.
1. 7 months were wasted with WA choosing to send birds to Sydney for diagnosis. Misdiagnosis occurred and an opportunity to have a vaccine ready to protect other states was lost.
2. Dr Walker requested birds be sent to him to do his own valuation, but by then the virus had passed through in the recognised 7 days and there were no birds available for intensive study.
3. Adeno is one of many viruses in Australian pigeons previously diagnosed, and was not here for the first time.
4. WA officials have moved too slowly in the preparation of information, and after 7 months the final report has not been prepared.
5. The classification this is a reovirus is not yet confirmed, but considered incredibly likely to be reovirus by all parties investigating.
6. Development of a vaccine is anticipated to be a relatively easy process, and it may be completed in time for birds to commence racing safely in 2017.
7. The vaccine will be cheap, and may be simply given to the birds via water.
8. The use of a live Newcastle Disease virus vaccine if you believe your birds may be infected with reovirus, may trigger an ability to fight off the reovirus, lasting around 2 weeks.
9. The early use of antibiotics on the birds appears to have the ability to help the number of birds process the virus without dying.
10. Nothing given to the pigeons, including "bath water", has any effect on stopping the birds dying. That is happening automatically at around 7 days anyway.
11. No pigeon has died from bacterial infection. All have died from the virus. So treatment with a host of products is not impacting the deaths stopping in the slightest.
12. Because flyers have not undertaken correct diagnostics, despite what their vet has told them, there is a high likelihood some lofts did not have the virus as the cause of deaths in their loft.
13. Dr Walker is very confident this virus did not come to Australia via imported birds.
14. Most virus spread occurs because of wild birds.
15. Funds will need to be raised to complete testing over the next 18 months, but it is likely the same situation will occur with the vaccine manufacturer using the associated diagnostic reports to support the registration of their product, and will purchase the report as occurred with PMV.
16. Many veterinarians, and avian scientists have donated their time to researching the nature of this virus, and we should be appreciative of their generosity.
17. Birds will remain infectious for up to 10 months. However nobody asked Dr Walker why the introduced imports and new stock to WA lofts have not recorded one death. That remains an unanswered mystery.
18. This virus is highly infectious, but highly unlikely to be airborne. More likely spread through water or the movement of fine dropping dust from infected birds on clothes or shoes.
19. Flyers are caught in a quandry. Lock their birds up and they won't be able to race. Release their birds for exercise and there is a chance it may come to the loft. Be diligent about trapping, and isolate strays and late arriving birds. Let your birds out if the virus is not in a loft near you, but be wary if you are close to an infected loft. Remember water and dust spread is the cause, not just having a bird join yours.
20. If a vaccine is not ready for the Victorian race season, chances are racing may not proceed.
Subject:meeting follow up
Date:Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:32:52 +1100
To:'Stephen and Rhonda Kearsey
For the websites
“A readily transmissible viral disease has been identified in racing pigeons in Victoria this week. Affected lofts experience mortality rates of approximately 30 %.
Initial testing has ruled out Adeno, PMV and Herpes virus infections. The virus is likely, however, to be the same virus that affected WA racing lofts earlier this year.
Testing has identified a number of virus’ as possible causes with one in particular being most likely. It may be that some poultry vaccines will be able to protect pigeons. Diagnostic work continues.
In the meantime every effort should be made to avoid the movement of birs between lofts. Some fanciers may wish to keep their birds locked down. Similarly flyers should avoid visiting other lofts. Further information will be posted as soon as it is available.
Affected birds develop green diarrhoea, start to vomit , become hunched and usually die within 24 hours. Fanciers who think their birds may have the disease should contact the Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic on 03 9764 9000”
For distribution to those present at the meeting
PLAN and AIMS
Control of spread of virus—strict biosecurity, no inter-loft movement of bird or fanciers
Develop tentative vaccine protocol
I thought it was a very good meeting.