Outbreak of Trichomoniasis in a wood pigeons wintering roost

An outbreak of wood pigeons (Columba palumbus) winter each year in southwestern Spain and Portugal, where they feed on acorns.

Although mortality in these wintering roosts is generally low, in winter and spring 2001 approximately 2,600 woodpigeons died from trichomoniasis.pigeon in the woods

Diagnosis of the disease was based on postmortem examination, culture and identification of the parasite, Trichomonas gallinae, by PCR. Other viral, bacterial or fungal pathogens were ruled out as cause for the die-off. The gathering of the woodpigeons at game bird feeders set up for red-legged partridges may have contributed to the outbreak.

Mortality ceased after treatment with dimetridazole via the game bird feeders. Supplementary feeding of game birds constitutes a risk factor for the appearance of disease outbreaks.

Close monitoring of infectious diseases in these populations is important, but treatment of free-living birds should be avoided in favour of other measures, as it poses risks.



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