On Wednesday the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service reported that the birds’ abnormal behavior was caused by the so-called “Newcastle disease,” which can spread to humans. Moscow's Veterinary Committee said the mass death of pigeons in the capital was due to salmonellа poisoning, an intestinal infection spread among animals and humans.
Veterinary specialists detected lesions on the gastrointestinal tracts and livers of the dead birds caused by salmonella, not Newcastle disease, Interfax reported.
Although the birds' salmonella is not harmful to humans, direct contact with the sick birds should be avoided, veterinarians said.
"The disease poses no risk for humans, provided standard precautions of personal hygiene are observed and direct contact with sick birds is avoided. Activators of avian influenza and psittacosis (an infection that can be transmitted to humans) have not been identified," the committee said.