They're pests, but at least pigeons won't give you the bird flu - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

They're pests, but at least pigeons won't give you the bird flu

(Washington-AP) April 23, 2006 - Urbanites worried about the possible spread of bird flu can relax a bit.

Pigeons are apparently very unlikely to carry or even get infected by the deadly strain.

Wildlife disease specialists have been conducting tests on the city pests, and found the birds just aren't susceptible to the virus. They're not totally immune, but research shows pigeons catch the H5N1 virus only when exposed to very high doses and even then carry the disease very briefly.

Pigeons didn't even get infected after high levels of virus were squirted directly into their mouths. "So that's good news," according to one researcher.

Instead, US government scientists looking for the first signs of the deadly strain are focusing on wild migratory birds, not birds like pigeons, starlings and sparrows that stay close to home.

Posted 8:49pm by Graeme Moore

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