Virulent Newcastle disease viruses from chicken origin are more pathogenic and transmissible to chickens than viruses normally maintained in wild birds.
Research led by scientists from the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia, US, looked at 5 virulent Newcastle Disease virus (vNDV) isolates of different genotypes from different host species.
They were evaluated for their ability to:
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Overall, the research, published in Veterinary Microbiology, found that the chicken-origin viruses infected chickens and efficiently transmitted to naïve birds, while the cormorant and pigeon-origin viruses infected chickens only at higher doses and did not transmit to other birds.
Also read: Pigeons pose Newcastle Disease Risks
Virulent Newcastle Disease has been a major issue on the west coast of the United States over the past year. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed 449 premises in California and further infected premises have been reported in neighbouring Utah and Arizona since the outbreak started in May 2018.
A study by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service into the clusters of cases, which overwhelmingly have been found in backyard rather than commercial flocks, highlighted the huge number of backyard flocks and that housing was often open to the wild bird population.