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PAGES: 532-536 DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760170014 Full paper
Clinical and serological tests for arboviruses in free-living domestic pigeons (Columba livia)

Bruna Alves Ramos1+, Jannifer Oliveira Chiang2, Lívia Carício Martins2, Liliane Leal das Chagas2, Franko de Arruda e Silva2, Milene Silveira Ferreira2, Maria Nazaré Oliveira Freitas2, Bianca Nascimento de Alcantara2, Sandro Patroca da Silva2, Stefânia Araújo Miranda3, Barbara Alves Sepulvreda1, Layna Thayssa Guimarães Corrêa4, Andréa Maria Góes Negrão4, Pedro Fernando da Costa Vasconcelos2, Alexandre do Rosário Casseb4

1Universidade Federal do Pará, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Belém, PA, Brasil
2Instituto Evandro Chagas, Setor de Arbovirologia e Febres Hemorrágicas, Ananindeua, Pará, Brasil
3Parque Naturalístico Mangal das Garças, Setor Veterinário, Belém, PA, Brasil
4Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia, Instituto da Saúde e Produção Animal, Laboratório de Biologia Molecular, Belém, PA, Brasil


BACKGROUND In this study, we evaluated the role of free-living domestic pigeons (Columba livia) as a reservoir of arboviruses in the city of Belém, state of Pará, Brazil. We investigated the presence of antibodies against the most prevalent arboviruses.

OBJECTIVES This study was aimed at evaluating some clinical and physical parameters of domestic pigeons, including the presence of antibodies to Amazon-endemic arboviruses.

METHODS Eighty-five healthy pigeons were captured in Mangal das Garças Park, in Belém, and were bled. Upon capture, the birds were subjected to a clinical examination in search of alterations that could indicate the presence of arboviruses. Blood samples were converted to serum and tested using the haemagglutination inhibition (HI) technique with a panel of 19 antigens of arboviruses circulating in the Amazon. The confirmation assay for the positive reactions to the viral species tested by HI was a neutralisation test in new-born Swiss albino mice (Mus musculus) [mouse neutralisation test (MNT)].

FINDINGS A total of 10 (11.8%) serum samples tested positive for antiflavivirus antibodies by HI. All the samples positive for the HI test were subjected to MNT for detection of viruses and yielded negative results (logarithmic neutralisation index < 1.7).

MAIN CONCLUSION The results represent the first serological detection of antiarbovirus antibodies in domestic pigeons as potential hosts of arboviruses in Brazil. The detection of haemagglutination-inhibiting antibodies against genus Flavivirus indicated that there was recent contact between the analysed domestic pigeons and these arboviruses. Further studies are needed to evaluate the role of free-living pigeons in the maintenance cycle and spread of arboviruses in the Amazon.

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Received 13 January 2017
Accepted 22 March 2017