Watch out for a zombie pigeon epidemic

The Gobal Travel Industry News reported about the pigeon mass deaths:

The travel and tourism industry in Russia’s capital Moscow is nervous about pigeon deaths. An “epidemic” of pigeon deaths in Moscow has sparked speculation that birds were succumbing to a virus dangerous to human beings. People who came across sick birds paying no attention to cars or passersby described them as “zombie pigeons.”

On Wednesday the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service reported that the birds’ abnormal behavior was caused by the so-called “Newcastle disease,” which can spread to humans.

Moscow’s Veterinary Committee said the mass death of pigeons in the capital was due to salmonellа poisoning, an intestinal infection spread among animals and humans. Veterinary specialists detected lesions on the gastrointestinal tracts and livers of the dead birds caused by salmonella, not Newcastle disease, Interfax reported.

Autopsies of dead birds showed that they had all suffered from a common intestinal infection that is not dangerous to humans, said Moscow’s deputy mayor for social issues, Leonid Pechatnikov. Neither the bird flu, dangerous to humans, nor fowl plague or any other diseases threatening people have been found, he said.

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