The information below has been received from Kevin Rudd's office in response to an email the QRPF sent seeking his support re: importation of a pigeon specific vaccine:
* The Department of Agriculture has received applications from two different overseas manufacturers to import their paramyxovirus vaccine for use in pigeons
* Following an assessment of the manufacturing process for the first vaccine it was determined that the biosecurity risk was unacceptable and the manufacturer was unwilling to implement additional controls to mitigate risk to an acceptably low level
* The department is currently assessing the second application. Again it has been determined that the vaccine is manufactured using techniques that are not compliant with Australia’s vaccine import requirements. The manufacturer has presented a case arguing how alternate risk controls can be considered equivalent to current policy requirements. This case is currently being assessed by Animal Biosecurity Branch
* ‘Off label’ use of poultry Newcastle disease vaccines in pigeons overseas has been shown to be safe and to provide protection against the paramyxovirus in pigeons. These poultry vaccines are currently available in Australia. The department has recommended that pigeon owners approach their veterinarian to discuss the ‘off-label’ use of these poultry vaccines
There has been another outbreak of PMV1 in Sydney and their racing has been suspended as of 29th June 2012. It is highly recommended that ALL pigeon fanciers vaccinate their birds ASAP. The vaccine can be purchased through a vet, Nobilis Newcavac is the only vaccine available at present.
Click on the links below for very good info on vaccine and vaccination.
PMV1 Vaccination for Pigeons (AUST)
Automatic Vaccinator for PMV Vaccine (AUST)
Biosecurity Queensland have given a seminar at the QRPF Headquarters on Tuesday evening 19th June, where they discussed the many issues that have pigeon fanciers here concerned for the welfare of their birds. In attendance where Dr Lawrence Gavey (Bio Security Qld), Dr Tom Grimes (MSD Animal Health Poultry Adviser) & Darryl Meaney (Pfizer Animal Health)
The main points that came out of the seminar were:
There are 9 main strains of PMV, the outbreak in Victoria is PMV1 and the sub-strain is similar to those found in the Middle East
The PMV1 in Victoria is now established in that state but its spread has not been as rapid as might have been expected.
Domesticated pigeons, feral pigeons, a feral dove and one Australian brown Goshawk have been infected.
Tests have so far shown that the virus does not spread to poultry.
The virus is highly contagious and can live for considerable time in the environment.
It can be spread on people's clothes and shoes, as well through pigeon equipment and pigeon eggs
The virus is easily killed by washing with soapy water for 15 minutes.
Imported pigeons from Victoria have caused an outbreak of the virus in Sydney, but NSW authorities believe they have controlled that outbreak.
The importation of pigeons from Victoria to Qld is by permit only, available from Bio Security Qld with strict conditions required.
Bio Security Qld are investigating a recent illegal importation of pigeons from Victoria to North Qld.
Good bio-security measures, such as isolating new birds are recommended to reduce the likelihood of introducing the virus.
There are two poultry vaccines available in Australia that appear to have the ability to build immunity in pigeons to the PMV1 but this is not guaranteed.
These vaccines are based on the La Sota strain of the virus and are "killed" or inactivated vaccines that cannot spread the disease itself.
The immunity provided by these vaccines has not been fully tested against the actual PMV1 outbreak strain.
Over 300,000 doses of the vaccines have been recently sold and supplies are exhausted, a new shipment is due in 6 weeks.
The vaccines are registered for use with poultry and "off label" use for pigeons is by veterinarian prescription in Queensland.
Vaccinated pigeons maybe protected but they can still contract and shed the live virus to other pigeons if they come in contact with it.
Most fanciers will be able to obtain the vaccine prescription through their normal vet, there is no requirement to produce pigeons for inspection.
MSD Animal Health has applied to the Australian authorities to import a pigeon specific vaccine and believe they have a good chance of approval within 3 to 6 months.
Click on the links below for more information
PMV1 Vaccination Guide (USA)
Vaccination against Avian Paramyxovirus
QLD Vaccination of Birds against Avian Paramyxovirus