Human disease animals

Newcastle diseaseNewcastle disease (ND, atypical avian influenza), like classical avian influenza (ugs. Avian influenza) a highly contagious viral disease with sometimes severe courses of disease. It can hardly be distinguished from avian influenza in its course and appearance.

Newcastle disease occurs worldwide and in Europe for the last time – in 2018 in Luxembourg and in Belgium. Both hobby farms and commercial poultry farms were affected.


In Germany, all chickens and turkeys must be regularly vaccinated against Newcastle disease. This is also true for hobby keepers of one or two animals. Newcastle disease can become a threat to entire regions in even the smallest poultry farms.

Ideally, vaccination should be started at chick age to achieve sufficient immunity. The animals should be vaccinated according to the instructions of the vaccine manufacturer. According to the duration of immunity must be revaccinated at regular intervals.

The live vaccines currently available on the market can be administered both via drinking water and in the form of a spray. In this way many (all) animals can be vaccinated at the same time. But also vaccine for single animal treatment is available, which is administered in drop form into the eyes and nostrils of the animals. Inactivated vaccines must be administered with a needle.

In principle, animal vaccines are to be used only by veterinarians. There are exceptions for commercial animals-. Professional pet owners. As of April 2020, live ND vaccines inoculated through drinking water may also be distributed to hobbyists. Requirements are:

1. The delivering veterinarian supervises the flock regularly, incl. Consultation and quarterly examination of the flock. 2. The veterinarian instructs the keeper about the application, risks and side effects of the vaccine. 3. The veterinarian hands out an application plan to the animal owner, incl. Information on the name of the agent, the pharmaceutical entrepreneur, the application times, the number and name of the animals to be treated, storage instructions and schedule of inspections. 4. The veterinarian determines the necessity of vaccination. Examines animals for vaccine eligibility prior to first use. The veterinarian determines the necessity of the vaccination. Examines animals for vaccine eligibility prior to first use. The veterinarian checks the animals for vaccination reactions according to the application schedule. 5. Only a quantity of vaccine sufficient to last until the next quarterly check may be given.

The keeper keeps records of the agent, incl. Batch number and the date of application, as well as the affected birds. The veterinarian shows the initial delivery of the vaccine incl. Application schedule to the competent veterinary authority. The authority must be notified informally of the new release on a calendar year basis.

A statement of the StIKoVet on the compulsory ND vaccination of poultry in hobby farms with detailed information can be found here. To prove that vaccination has been carried out, the vaccination certificate of the vaccination carried out must be presented when the poultry is examined live for slaughter.


ND is extraordinarily contagious. It mainly affects chickens and turkeys, wild birds (pheasant, partridge, quail) and rarely waterfowl.

The pathogen avian paramyxovirus (PMV) type 1 is ingested via the respiratory air, direct contact with infected animals and food intake. It is excreted in large quantities via feces, nasal, pharyngeal, and ocular secretions, and with the eggs. Indirect transmission is also possible via equipment, feed, bedding, slaughterhouse waste and people who have come into contact with the virus. Purchases from animals that shed the virus without showing symptoms of disease pose a major risk of introduction.

The time from infection to the appearance of disease symptoms (incubation period) lasts 3 – 6 days. ND can occur in different courses:

– Rapid, rapid (velogenic) progression:

– Peracute – perishing without signs of disease, other animals weak, listless. – The death rate is up to 90.

– Intermediate (mesogenic) course:

– Subacute or acute – fever up to 43° C, dullness, drowsiness, complete refusal to eat or drink water, shortness of breath, greenish watery diarrhea, circulatory disturbances with blue coloration of the comb, sneezing, rasping, ruffled feathers., – Collapse of laying performance, smaller eggs, disturbance of eggshell formation, watery egg white. – high proportion of diseased birds in the flock, mortality within 5 days between 5 and 50%. – Duration of illness usually several weeks, with survival central nervous disorders (z. B. Paralysis of leg and neck muscles, neck torsion).

– Slow (lentogenic) progression:

– Temporary loss of appetite, mild or absent respiratory symptoms, feed intake and laying performance briefly decreased, mild diarrhea. – Almost no deaths.

Zoonotic Potential:

Newcastle disease is not dangerous for humans.

Human infections are rare. Primarily poultry farmers, laboratory personnel, and veterinarians are affected. There may be a 3-4 day conjunctivitis and general symptoms of chills, headache and mild fever. Humans become infected through the air or through the conjunctiva after direct contact with infected poultry. Veterinarians and poultry farmers can use vaccine virus, which is not dangerous for chickens, z.B. infect when dissolving the live vaccine (drinking water vaccination) or when using spray vaccines. Poultry flocks can shed the vaccine virus up to15 days after vaccination with live vaccine and can be a source of infection for humans (Source: "Zoonoses" by Bauerfeind, Kimmig, Schiefer, Schwarz, Slenczka and Zahner).


Virus detection is necessary to establish the diagnosis. Fecal samples, cloacal or tracheal swabs (commercial swab collection systems suitable for virology) and whole carcasses from recently dead or killed animals can be sent in. (Care must be taken to keep the patient cool during transport).)

Detection is done by virus isolation (duration: 3 – 7 days). Specific molecular biological methods (PCR methods) only give an indication of the causative agent. In case of APMV-1 isolation, further characterization and virulence determination is done at the National Reference Laboratory for ND, Friedrich Loeffler Institute – Insel Riems. Only the infections caused by moderately virulent (mesogenic). Highly virulent (velogenic) APMV-1 virus strains are subject to legal regulations.

In the pathological examination of the carcasses can be u. a. the following changes are detected: Bleeding in the larynx area, in the trachea and esophagus and in the glandular stomach depending on the form of progression in varying degrees. In severe cases, high-grade inflammation of the aforementioned organs.


ND is a notifiable animal disease. The ND will be used in accordance with the Avian Influenza Protection Ordinance (repealed by Ordinance of 18.10.2007). Newcastle disease (Avian Influenza Ordinance) of 20.12.2005 combated.10.2007) and Newcastle disease (Avian Influenza Regulation) of 20.12.Combated in 2005. It not only causes great damage to the sick animals themselves, but also leads to severe economic consequences for animal owners and entire regions.

If Newcastle disease is suspected, this must be reported immediately to the responsible local veterinary office. Suspicious are o. g. Disease symptoms occurring in multiple chickens or turkeys at the same time or at short intervals with similar signs. To verify suspicion of Newcastle disease, veterinary authorities shall collect samples of. These are taken to special official laboratories for examination.

If the suspicion is confirmed after the samples are tested, on-site measures are ordered for the infected holding and large-scale closures around the flock. Since humans can transmit the disease, it is essential to follow the official measures in the infected area to prevent the disease from spreading. Due to trade restrictions, there are serious problems in the sale of animals and their products on the market.

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