Expansion of an exotic species and concomitant disease outbreaks: pigeon paramyxovirus in free-ranging eurasian collared doves.
Eurasian collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) have expanded their range across the United States since their introduction several decades ago. Recent mortality events in Eurasian collared doves in Arizona and Montana, USA, during the winter of 2009-2010 were the result of pigeon paramyxovirus (PPMV), a novel disease agent. The first instance of mortality by this emerging infectious disease in this species occurred in Florida in 2001 with subsequent disease events in 2006 and 2008. Full diagnostic necropsies were performed on carcasses from the three states. PPMV was identified by RT-PCR and virus isolation and was sequenced to the VIb genotype of avian paramyxovirus-1 (APMV). Other APMVs are common in a variety of free-ranging birds, but concern is warranted because of the potential for commingling of this species with native birds, virus evolution, and threats to domestic poultry. Improved surveillance for wildlife mortality events and efforts to prevent introduction of non-native animals could reduce the threat of introducing new pathogens.