Newcastle disease virus

Newcastle disease virus

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

A virus of the genus Rubulavirus, family Paranexoviridae, causing Newcastle disease in chickens and, to a lesser extent, in turkeys and other birds; it may occasionally infect laboratory and poultry workers, causing conjunctivitis and lymphadenitis.

Newcastle disease (ND) is caused by virulent strains of avian Paramyxovirus type 1 (APMV-1) of the genus Avulavirus belonging to the family Paramyxoviridae. There are ten serotypes of avian Paramyxoviruses designated APMV-I to APMV-10. ND virus (NDV) has been shown to be able to infect over 200 species of birds, but the severity of disease produced varies with both host and strain of virus. Even APMV-1 strains of low virulence may induce severe respiratory disease when exacerbated by the presence of other organisms or by adverse environmental conditions.

Human infection with Newcastle disease virus is extremely rare and usually occurs only in people who have close direct contact with infected birds - for example, poultry processing workers, veterinarians or laboratory staff. The virus causes only mild, short-term conjunctivitis or influenza-like symptoms.


NDV causes mild flu-like symptoms or conjunctivitis (an infection of the eye that is also called pink eye) and/or laryngitis (an irritation and swelling of the voice box and the area around it).In severe cases it may also causes parotiditis (inflammation of parotid glands) in human, but sometimes complicated by meningoencephalitis, orchitis, oophoritis, and less frequently pancreatitis, thyroiditis, neuritis, otitis, conjunctivitis, keratitis, iritis (inflammation of iris), and retinitis.


The preferred method of diagnosis is virus isolation and subsequent characterization. Virus can be isolated from saliva, CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) of the patients with neurological complications, or from urine.

Any hemagglutinating agents should be tested for specific inhibition with a monospecific antiserum to APMV-1 (avian Paramyxovirus-1). APMV-1 may show some antigenic cross-relationship with some of the other avian Paramyxovirus serotypes, particularly APMV-3 and APMV-7. The intracerebral pathogenicity index (ICPI) can be used to determine the virulence of any newly isolated APMV-1. Alternatively, virulence can also be evaluated using Molecular techniques, i.e., reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and sequencing. ND is subject to official control in most countries and the virus has a high risk of spread from the laboratory; consequently, appropriate laboratory biosafety and biosecurity must be maintained; a risk assessment should be carried out to determine the level needed.


There is no treatment for Newcastle disease, although treatment with antibiotics to control secondary infections may assist. Prevention relies on good quarantine and biosecurity procedures and vaccination. The virus can easily be destroyed by heat or by treatment with acids or alkalis. It is destroyed by direct sunlight within 30 minutes, but in cool weather can survive in manure or in contaminated poultry sheds for many weeks.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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