The Newcastle disease (paramyxovirus, of the Group 1 serotype) is a contagious bird disease transmissible to humans; this rapid diffusion viral disease can appear in every moment of the year (from winter to summer). The pathogen is very resistant, up to different months.
The Newcastle disease can have different virulence variation: if this variation is low then the disease may not appear whereas if the virulence variation is high, then it will cause the diffusion of the virus and an high mortality rate.
The Newcastle virus affects the breathing apparatus, the nervous and digestive systems: the incubation period of this disease may vary between 2 and 15 days.
The mortality of the birds is up to 90%.
The paramixovirus is very aggressive and resistant. It can live in contaminated areas for over 8 weeks, even after the departure of the infected animals.
The transmission can be either caused by direct contact with infected animals or by indirect contact with water or food polluted with feces of dead animals.
The Newcastle disease virus is characterized by warts on the skin of the animal. Infected birds shed the virus in exhaled air, respiratory discharges, and feces. Typical of this form are the hemorrhagic necrotic and focal diphtheroid lesions affecting the mucosa of the beak cavity, the stomach and the intestines. This disease is generally prevalent in hens, more rarely in turkeys, exotic or wild birds. Virus may also be present in eggs.
The animals affected by this virus are sleepy but don’t want to sleep, they also stop producing eggs and present signs of suffocation. Usually the mortality it’s not very high, unless the breathing system it’s not implicated.
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Reference and further reading:
Olsen, G; Orosz, S. Manual of Avian Medicine. Mosby, Inc. St. Louis, MO; 2000
USDA Department of Agriculture. Veterinary Services. Exotic Newcastle Disease. May, 2001