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Armidale Chronicle, Saturday 31 March 1928, page 7

Starlings as Disease Carriers.


At the Stock Inspector's Conference Dr. H. R. Seddon gave an outline of the work that is being carried out at the Glenfield Veterinary Research Station, of which he is the director. He dealt with the progress in the war against various diseases, and made particulars reference to swine fever. When be visited areas at Botany where the disease bad broken out, he found that adjoining pens were not affected in sequence, but be was attracted by the large number of starlings in the vicinity and decided to carry out an experiment at Glenfield. A pen of healthy pigs was placed in proximity to pigs with fever, and the area was enclosed with netting. Six starlings were placed in the area, and they fed in one pen and then the other. The healthy pigs become affected, showing that the birds carried the virus on their feet.

Swine fever, he explained, was a disease that was difficult to diagnose. Usually the first symptom was that the animal lost its appetite, and this usually occurred three or four days after exposure to infection. This stage was closely followed by a sudden rise in temperature, quite often to 106 degrees. The animal then adopted a characteristic attitude in standing, the head and tail drooping, and the back arched. Diarrhoea was a constant symptom, and the pig wasted very rapidly. Coughing was not constant unless the animal was suffering from pneumonia.


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