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Dev Comp Immunol. 2000 Mar-Apr;24(2-3):257-68.

The avian response to Newcastle disease virus.

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Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U.S.D.A., Athens, GA 30605, USA.


Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is classified as a member of the superfamily Mononegavirales in the family Paramyxoviridae. This virus family is divided into two subfamilies, the Paramyxovirinae and the Pneumovirinae. In 1993 the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses rearranged the order of the Paramyxovirus genus and placed NDV within the Rubulavirus genus among the Paramyxovirinae. The enveloped virus has a negative sense single-stranded RNA genome of 15,186 kb which codes for an RNA directed RNA polymerase, hemagglutinin-neuraminidase protein, fusion protein, matrix protein, phosphoprotein and nucleoprotein in the 5' to 3' direction. The virus has a wide host range with most orders of birds reported to have been infected by NDV. Isolates are characterized by virulence in chickens and are categorized into three main pathotypes depending on severity of disease. Lentogenic isolates are of low virulence while viruses of intermediate virulence are termed mesogenic. Highly virulent viruses that cause high mortality in birds are termed neurotropic or viscerotropic velogenic. Velogenic NDV are List A pathogens that require reporting to the Office of International Epizootics and outbreaks result in strict trade embargoes. The primary molecular determinant for NDV pathogenicity is the fusion protein cleavage site amino acid sequence. Vaccination for NDV is primarily by mass application of live-virus vaccines among commercial poultry. Although protection is measured by presence of antibodies to NDV, vaccinated B-cell depleted chickens are resistant to disease. Consequently, immune protection involves responses that are presently incompletely defined.

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