The characteristics and risk factors of pigeon paramyxovirus type 1 (PPMV-1) infection in humans are poorly known. We performed virological, pathological, and epidemiological analyses of a Dutch case, and compared the results with those of a US case. Both infections occurred in transplant patients under immunosuppressive therapy and caused fatal respiratory failure. Both virus isolates clustered with PPMV-1, which has pigeons and doves as reservoir. Experimentally inoculated pigeons became infected and transmitted the virus to naive pigeons. Both patients were likely infected by contact with infected pigeons or doves. Given the large populations of feral pigeons with PPMV-1 infection in cities, increasing urbanization, and a higher proportion of immunocompromised individuals, the risk of severe human PPMV-1 infections May increase. We recommend testing for avian paramyxovirus type 1, including PPMV-1, in respiratory disease cases where common respiratory pathogens cannot be identified.

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The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Department of Virology

Kuiken, T., Breitbart, M., Beer, M., Grund, C. (Christian), Höper, D. (Dirk), van den Hoogen, B., … Koopmans, M., D.V.M. (2018). Zoonotic infection with pigeon paramyxovirus type 1 linked to fatal pneumonia. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 218(7), 1037–1044. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiy036