The Viruses of Wild Pigeon Droppings

Tung Gia Phan, Nguyen Phung Vo, Ákos Boros, Péter Pankovics, Gábor Reuter, Olive T.W. Li, Chunling Wang, Xutao Deng, Leo L.M. Poon, Eric Delwart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Citations (Scopus)


Birds are frequent sources of emerging human infectious diseases. Viral particles were enriched from the feces of 51 wild urban pigeons (Columba livia) from Hong Kong and Hungary, their nucleic acids randomly amplified and then sequenced. We identified sequences from known and novel species from the viral families Circoviridae, Parvoviridae, Picornaviridae, Reoviridae, Adenovirus, Astroviridae, and Caliciviridae (listed in decreasing number of reads), as well as plant and insect viruses likely originating from consumed food. The near full genome of a new species of a proposed parvovirus genus provisionally called Aviparvovirus contained an unusually long middle ORF showing weak similarity to an ORF of unknown function from a fowl adenovirus. Picornaviruses found in both Asia and Europe that are distantly related to the turkey megrivirus and contained a highly divergent 2A1 region were named mesiviruses. All eleven segments of a novel rotavirus subgroup related to a chicken rotavirus in group G were sequenced and phylogenetically analyzed. This study provides an initial assessment of the enteric virome in the droppings of pigeons, a feral urban species with frequent human contact.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere72787
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 4 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

Phan, T. G., Vo, N. P., Boros, Á., Pankovics, P., Reuter, G., Li, O. T. W., Wang, C., Deng, X., Poon, L. L. M., & Delwart, E. (2013). The Viruses of Wild Pigeon Droppings. PloS one, 8(9), [e72787].