July1 , 2022

NEWCASTLE DISEASE: How To Spot And Report The Disease



NEWCASTLE DISEASE: How To Spot And Report The Disease

Newcastle disease is a highly contagious disease of birds caused by a para-myxo virus. Birds affected by this disease are fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasants, partridges, guinea fowl and other wild and captive birds, including ratites such ostriches, emus and rhea.


Humans aren’t normally affected, but people in direct contact with infected birds may develop a very short-term eye infection, which passes without treatment.


Clinical signs

The clinical signs in affected birds can vary. The disease can be present in a very acute form with sudden onset and high mortality or as a mild disease with respiratory distress or a drop in egg production as the only detectable clinical signs. A sub-clinical (asymptomatic) form of Newcastle disease and many intermediate forms of the disease can also occur. The main signs are:

sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, greenish watery diarrhoea, depression, muscular tremors, drooping wings, complete paralysis, swelling of the tissues around the eyes and in the neck, sudden death, increased death loss in a flock in laying birds there can be partial to complete drop in egg production; and production of thin-shelled eggs.

Read also: Important facts about New castle disease : signs, prevention and control

How Newcastle disease is spread

The disease is transmitted through infected birds’ droppings and secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes. The disease is spread primarily through direct contact between healthy birds and the bodily discharges of infected birds. Virus-bearing material can also be picked up on shoes and clothing and carried from an infected flock to a healthy one.

Possible routes of transmission therefore include contact between poultry and also through movements of contaminated vehicles, equipment, manure, feed and water.

The virus can survive for several weeks in a warm and humid environment on birds’ feathers, manure, and other materials.

The disease is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids of infected birds, especially their faeces and aerosol contact.


Effective vaccines are available and some poultry are vaccinated routinely.

Read also: Complete vaccination schedule for layers

Human health implications

People may become infected with Newcastle disease virus, the resulting disease is typically limited to conjunctivitis. Recovery is usually rapid, and the virus is no longer present in the eye fluids after four to seven days. Such infections occurred mostly in laboratory workers and vaccination crews. No instance of transmission to humans through handling or consuming of poultry products is known.


The best defence, as with all exotic animal diseases, is a high level of awareness and good biosecurity. Poultry keepers and businesses in Scotland are reminded of the importance of maintaining biosecurity in their flocks and being vigilant to any signs of disease in their birds.

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