Newcastle Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

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Newcastle disease is a contagious disease that is viral, and it affects birds. This disease can affect both domestic and wild birds. It is also possible for the bird to transmit Newcastle to humans.

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This disease is more common for poultry since they are exposed to more germs and other birds due to the market for chickens, turkeys, and other birds that are commonly eaten. If a person has exposed to a bird this disease, they may experience conjunctivitis, flu-like symptoms, but they will not have to worry about death.

There is no cure for Newcastle, but a person can get a vaccine. It is also recommended to keep birds living in a sanitary place to prevent outbreaks.

History of Newcastle Disease

This disease was first identified in Indonesia in 1926 and then in England. England has changed its regulations for slaughtering fowl in order to make the conditions more sanitary. The Department of Agriculture has been working to put an end to this disease and prevent the spread of it in birds.


This disease is spread between healthy birds and birds that have the infection. The infection is spread through feces and secretions from the face of the infected birds.

This is common in birds that are kept in confinement and has the highest rate in chickens that are raised from commercial purposes. When the chicken is processed the virus can also get on the machine equipment and clothing or the shoes of the workers.

This disease can live for several weeks in the droppings or other fluids. The disease loves warm and humid climates and lives on the feathers of the bird as well.

Birds that are smuggled into the United States are also at a higher risk for developing Newcastle disease. Even if a bird does not show symptoms of this disease, they can carry it and spread it for over 400 days.

Symptoms in Birds

The infection and the symptom may vary from bird to bird. It will depend on the age and the health of the bird as well as the age and the health of the host.

When a bird is the first infection the Newcastle Disease will incubate their system for 4 to 6 days. At this time the bird may be coughing, lose their appetite, shake, the wings may droop, and some birds have paralysis. The neck and the eyes may swell too.


A person will also see green discharge from the face, diarrhea, and if the bird lays eggs they may be thin and misshapen. Some bird may suddenly die. Others may not show signs of illness for several days.


There are vaccines that can be given to birds, but it does not guarantee that the bird will not get the disease. They will need to get a large dose. There is also an oil based inactive vaccine that is used after the vaccine in order to improve its effectiveness.

If a bird is important to the United States from another country has to be in quetenite outside of the country for at least 30 days before it is allowed to enter. If a person suspects that a bird has Newcastle disease, they need to report it to the USDA right away.

On a farm only authorized workers and as few as possible should be assigned to the poultry housing. They should wear clean clothing every time they enter and should not move to another area of the farm in this same clothing.

Birds need to be able to move around freely and should not be clumped together. Wild birds should not be allowed to live with the farm birds. The birds need to be cleaned up after as well.

Feces should be managed and removed from the area. Litter and other waste should also be removed. If a bird appears to be infected it should be reported to the health authorities for further testing and should not be allowed to live with the other birds.

Newcastle disease is easy to spread and has been found in many commercial industries. It is important to allow the birds a spacious are and to make sure this area is sanitary to decrease the chance of Newcastle disease.

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