ROTAVIRUS has been present in Europe for more than 20 years. This report from Veterinary professionals in the United Kingdom
Rotavirus testing can be obtained from these veterinary professionals in the United Kingdom. Web site address above.
Here is an email answer received by a fancier in Australia from these veterinary professionals in the United Kingdom.
ROTAVIRUS in the UK and Europe.
Rotavirus is still a major issue in the UK at present. The health program and products we would advise are recent developments.
The majority of birds in the UK either become infected in the loft at 5-6 weeks old, or else will pick it up during their first race.
A responsible loft owner would be waiting a minimum of 2 weeks after the clinical signs of Rotavirus before sending birds to race. However as there are so many native birds in Australia this may be extended to 4 weeks or more, potentially beginning once all birds in the loft no longer show clinical signs, and may even include the testing of birds for the virus afterward. These precautions are sensible, but may not be consistently practical nor enforceable depending upon the race. Equally some people may choose to quarantine their birds after a race to ensure no rotavirus is brought back into the loft.
There is an infectious stage, running through the period of clinical signs and two weeks thereafter, but we are not aware of any birds becoming carriers. There are occasions, such as in parent stock, when the virus has been isolated with no noticeable clinical signs, although this is a stressful time and it is believed infection due to stress-related immunosuppression has occurred.
We are uncertain as to how long the immunity to the disease lasts after infection. This is dependent upon the immune status of the bird, the level of challenge, any continued challenge, and future immune status. Reinfection is a possibility.
The food additive product is a newly developed product, originally produced for use in calves and piglets. We have since been using it on game birds in the UK with good success rates. Native birds include any animal with no immunity to the virus. This includes young birds, but also adults which have never been exposed, and adults in which the immunity to the virus has waned below the minimum level to keep the bird safe.