'Zombie pigeons' walk with twisted necks after contracting illness
New York Post

A widespread disease among pigeons is freaking out the UK due to one very bizarre zombie-like side effect.

The Jersey Society for Prevention of the Cruelty of Animals issued an alert along with a string of photographs of the affected pigeons with distorted necks.

"There has been an increase in the number of grounded pigeons coming into the JSPCA Animals’ Shelter in the last few weeks, many of which have been showing neurological signs such as twisted neck, circling or are unable to stand," the animal rescue service based in St. Helier, Jersey, said.

The disease has been reported to be paramyxovirus, also known as PPMV or Newcastle's Disease, characterised as "an invariably fatal viral disease that can affect pigeons, doves and poultry."

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According to the animal rescue service, one key indicator of the disease is thin, green faeces.

"Sometimes they will also have injuries resulting from not being able to balance or fly well," they said, before adding that those that survive are "humanely euthanised" to avoid infecting others.

"The virus can survive longer in the wetter, colder months, meaning clusters of cases are more common at this time of year," the group said.

To prevent the disease, it is recommended to have pigeons vaccinated, according to Gov.uk.

They said to report any suspected cases of pigeon paramyxovirus by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office.

"Failure to do so is an offence," they added.

Luckily, humans cannot catch the disease. However, people handling infected pigeons can catch conjunctivitis, commonly known as red eye.

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