Australian authorities said Friday they are banning the import of birds from Canada after three racing pigeons tested positive for bird flu antibodies.
The birds were in a consignment of 102 pigeons that arrived in Australia on Sept. 3 and tested positive while being held in strict quarantine in the southern city of Melbourne, Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
He said the birds were not carrying bird flu, only the antibodies, indicating they had been exposed to the virus at some time.
He did not say which strain of bird flu antibodies they were carrying, but said they had them despite being certified disease-free by Canadian authorities.
Australia has extremely strict quarantine rules aimed at protecting local flora and fauna from diseases that have hit elsewhere around the world.