does avian pox kill birds

As mechanical vectors, mosquitoes are the main vectors that spread the avian poxvirus. A mosquito carries the virus on its mouthparts after feeding on an infected bird, which it then feeds to another bird. Through skin abrasions, close contact between infected and uninfected birds can result in the transmission of viruses. Additionally, birds may indirectly contract the disease by coming into contact with, consuming, or inhaling contaminated dust, feed, or water.

Two types of avian pox exist, each with different clinical symptoms. In the dry or cutaneous form, the bird’s featherless areas, such as the feet and legs, the area around the eyes, and the base of the beak, gradually develop wart-like growths. The mucous membranes of the upper gastrointestinal (mouth, pharynx) and respiratory (trachea) tracts are impacted by the wet or diphtheritic form of avian pox.

The number of birds and biting insects in an area can affect the spread of the highly contagious disease avian pox. Eliminating standing water that serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes is one way to reduce their population. Controlling outbreaks requires removing birdbaths and feeders to discourage bird gatherings. Disinfecting feeders and baths can be achieved with a Bleach solution from 2010.

Avipoxviruses proliferate when they infect skin cells and the surfaces of the upper gastrointestinal and respiratory systems. Wart-like growths appear on featherless parts of the body in the dry form of avian pox. Plaques develop on the mucosal surfaces of the mouth, throat, trachea, and esophagus in the wet form of the illness. The same bird may contract both types of the illness at the same time.

Large, encased, double-stranded DNA viruses called avipoxviruses replicate and infect epithelial cells. There are at least ten known virus strains, each given a name corresponding to its original species, such as g. , canary pox, fowl pox, and pigeon pox. Although the majority of avipoxvirus strains are species-specific, some can infect more than one species. A contributing factor to apparent host specificity may be the limited interactions between bird species resulting from ecological niches.

Signs of disease

does avian pox kill birds

does avian pox kill birds

does avian pox kill birds

does avian pox kill birds

Figures 1 (credit: Graham Forsyth) and 2 (Moss Taylor). Images of avian pox in wild dunnocks: observe the skin nodules (arrows) on the digits and surrounding the beak.

Figures 3 (credit: David Wragg) and 4 (credit: Andrew Mawby). Images of wild great tits afflicted with avian pox: take note of the numerous, sizable skin lesions on the head that resemble tumors.


How do you treat avian pox in birds?

Many birds will recover with supportive treatment. Topical treatment of the crusts may be indicated. Care must be used not to disturb any crusts, as this may cause the virus to spread locally. Antibacterial therapy is often used if a secondary bacterial infection is present.

Can you eat a bird with avian pox?

Although a wild turkey with pox lesions on its head, legs or feet may be unsightly, there are no human health risks associated with handling or eating a properly cooked infected bird.

Should you report avian pox?

To help WHL monitor for disease outbreaks, we encourage residents to report bird deaths, particularly when large numbers (5 or more) of birds are found dead in an area over a short period of time (days to weeks).

Can humans get avian pox?

Avian pox is not known to affect humans, but it is highly contagious between birds. If you suspect your local birds have this illness, stop artificial feeding for several days in order to help slow or stop the spread of the disease. Feeders can concentrate birds and hasten the spread of disease.