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Exotic Newcastle Disease (END)

Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) is another name for Velogenic Viscerotropic Newcastle Disease (VVND), which is one of the most infectious diseases of poultry worldwide, caused by a particularly virulent strain of the newcastle disease virus. It is a very contagious and fatal disease which affects all species of domestic and wild birds. Some species do not show any or have limited signs of disease if they become infected, including parrots and other psittacine birds. Most infected chickens and turkeys eventually die from this disease but there is a period before they succumb when they can easily spread the virus.

END has historically been a problem in California. The virus has been detected nearly every year in California, primarily in psitticine and free-flying wild-bird species. Major outbreaks have occurred in 1971 and again in 2002, in which the source was tracked back to illegally imported gamefowl. Within the first week of the outbreak response alone, more than 5,000 noncommercial birds were depopulated and 30 backyard flocks placed under quarantine in a three-county area. Ultimately, nearly 300,000 premises were visited during the outbreak, and 90,000 of them had avian species, primarily poultry.

How is the disease transmitted?


The NDV is primarily transmitted to birds via inhalation or ingestion of virus particles, which can be found in feces or respiratory secretions from infected birds (many of whom may not actually show any signs of being infected), or from exposure to fomites (objects such as clothes and equipment used by humans), or humans. The virus can survive for several weeks in a warm, humid environment, and indefinitely in frozen material. It is however, rapidly destroyed by dehydration and sunlight, 1 minute at boiling temperature, or by common household disinfectants

What is the incubation period?


The incubation period is typically 2–15 days post-exposure. Poultry can shed the virus in their feces for up to 1-2 weeks following infection. Psittacine birds (parrots, parakeets, and macaws) can shed the virus for several months to 1 year following infection (who most often show no signs of being infected).

Clinical Signs

Depression
Sneezing, coughing, and gasping for air
Nasal discharge
Greenish, watery diarrhea
Muscular tremors
Ataxia
Twisting of the head and neck (Torticollis)
Complete paresis or paralysis of the wings or legs
Drop in egg production
Thin-shelled eggs
Swelling around the eyes
Sudden death

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory tests

Treatment

NameSummary
Supportive care and strict isolation.
Report signs of disease to your veterinarian.

Support

Prevention

  • Avoid visiting other facilities which house birds during high risk alerts
  • Protect your flock from exposure to wild birds (mainly their feces)
  • Quarantine new additions to the flock. Always tend to non-quarantined birds first, and care for new birds second.
  • Minimize exposure to biting insects and rodents (mice, rats).

Prognosis

Poor, often fatal

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Importing birds into the country.
  • Exposure to wild bird feces
  • Living in California and bordering states.

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