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November 17, 1945

DO PIGEONS SPREAD VIRUS PNEUMONIA?

JAMA. 1945;129(12):805. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860460029011

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Abstract

Extensive surveys of pigeon lofts and sampling of the pigeon populations throughout the country have shown that from 20 to 40 per cent of pigeons have in their serums antibodies which indicate that they have been at some time infected with the virus of ornithosis. Necropsies made on the bodies of pigeons and inoculation tests on mice with emulsions of the tissues of the spleen and of the kidney have shown that a variable percentage of pigeons may actually have living virus in the body. However, only a relatively small percentage of all pigeons are "open" carriers—that is to say, give off the virus in such form that they might infect other pigeons or human beings. Studies made by the George Williams Hooper Foundation of the University of California show that discharge of virus from the bowel of the pigeon is quite irregular and that many pigeons are "closed" carriers

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