The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) said that there is a great need now for a good quarantine system as a highly infectious bird disease has been detected from imported pigeons just recently.

Dr Mark Lawrie, AVA president, says that the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service have verified that some imported pigeons at a Victorian quarantine facility have been infected with a pathogenic Newcastle disease.

This is exactly what the quarantine system is for. It's a great relief that this terrible disease has been stopped before it become widespread and infect our wildlife and poultry industry, Dr Lawrie told reporters.

To allow access to imported genetic material, reduce incentives to smuggle and provide protection against imported diseases is exactly what quarantine stations are set up to do, he added.

He also said that the Newcastle disease is not a threat to human life, but it can greatly wreck the bird population.

This is a timely reminder that we need to invest continuously in strong quarantine systems to protect us from major diseases from many species overseas.

As the Equine influenza outbreak proved, we really need quick actions on these recommendations to help manage and stop the threat of imported diseases to our country, said Dr. Lawrie.