Newcastle disease is fairly common around the world but thankfully, the UK doesn't have many outbreaks. The symptoms of Newcastle disease can be quite varied. Newcastle disease is a notifiable disease in the UK.
Commercial flocks are vaccinated against Newcastle disease at the same time as they are vaccinated for infectious bronchitis and all racing pigeons leaving the UK (and returning on their own hopefully!) are vaccinated against it. The virus is quite tough, being able to survive in dead birds for many weeks afterwards.
Species Affected: All but especially turkeys and chickens.
Other Names: Avian Distemper, Paramyxovirus, Fowl Pest
Symptoms: Can be quite varied. In growers: Gasping, coughing and wheezing / chirping. After a couple of weeks, sometimes nervous system problems - twisted neck, droopy wings, dragging legs. In adults: Wheezing, green droppings, soft shelled eggs or drop in egg production and later on, nervous system symptoms such as twisted neck, droopy wings, dragging legs.
Transmission: By inhaling the virus via respiratory discharges from carriers or ingesting it via excretions e.g contaminated feed.
Diagnosis: Symptoms above and post mortem findings.
Prevention: Vaccination (Intervet) if in a high risk area, good biosecurity.
Treatment: Isolate infected birds in a warm location, provide them with a good diet and a vitamin supplement in their water.
Risk to Human Health: Infection to the eyes / conjunctivitis with flu like symptoms. Usually temporary and should clear after a couple of weeks.