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Rev Sci Tech. 2000 Aug;19(2):443-62.

Newcastle disease and other avian paramyxoviruses.

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Central Veterinary Laboratory, Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey, United Kingdom.


Newcastle disease (ND), caused by avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 (APMV-1) viruses, is included in List A of the Office International des Epizooties. Historically, ND has been a devastating disease of poultry, and in many countries the disease remains one of the major problems affecting existing or developing poultry industries. Even in countries where ND may be considered to be controlled, an economic burden is still associated with vaccination and/or maintaining strict biosecurity measures. The variable nature of Newcastle disease virus strains in terms of virulence for poultry and the different susceptibilities of the different species of birds mean that for control and trade purposes, ND requires careful definition. Confirmatory diagnosis of ND requires the isolation and characterisation of the virus involved. Assessments of virulence conventionally require in vivo testing. However, in vitro genetic characterisation of viruses is being used increasingly now that the molecular basis of pathogenicity is more fully understood. Control of ND is by prevention of introduction and spread, good biosecurity practices and/or vaccination. Newcastle disease viruses may infect humans, usually causing transient conjunctivitis, but human-to-human spread has never been reported. Eight other serotypes of avian paramyxoviruses are recognised, namely: APMV-2 to APMV-9. Most of these serotypes appear to be present in natural reservoirs of specific feral avian species, although other host species are usually susceptible. Only APMV-2 and APMV-3 viruses have made a significant disease and economic impact on poultry production. Both types of viruses cause respiratory disease and egg production losses which may be severe when exacerbated by other infections or environmental stresses. No reports exist of natural infections of chickens with APMV-3 viruses.

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