IPS Annual Raffle
History of Newcastle Disease in
By: Sandee L. Molenda*
The first mention of Newcastle disease (ND) in the U.S. AHA proceedings was a 1942 paper on avian pneumoencephalitis by J. R. Beach. In 1944, the disease was shown to be caused by the virus of Newcastle disease, the first identification of a ND virus isolate in the U.S. A paper on vaccination for pneumoencephalitis followed in 1944 and the committee recommended that suspected cases of the disease be reported to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).
In 1945, the committee remarked on the spread of ND to the eastern shores of the U.S. and urged all to become familiar with this new enemy. The committee said most important would be to learn the distribution of the agent and urged a nationwide survey, outlined directions for diagnostic procedures, and warned of the many ways the disease could be spread.
There were four papers on ND in 1946 and the committee reported a national committee on ND, made up of state, federal, industry and research representatives, had been formed. The USLSA committee recommended that the combined recommendations of BAI and the national committee on ND be implemented on a state basis. In 1947, the committee noted that ND had been diagnosed in 43 states and the threat of ND, together with an increasing appreciation of the value of research, had greatly advanced investigation of poultry diseases during the post war-period. The committee deferred to an AVMA committee on nomenclature the best name to apply to ND.
Papers at annual meetings the next few years discussed live virus ND vaccination, internasal vaccination, day-old chick vaccination and other means of control. Research workers and commercial firms were cautioned not to release vaccines unless they first were shown to be effective. ND remained primarily a problem of chickens, occasionally of turkeys. Mixed infections with infectious bronchitis virus were described.
In 1955, the committee said the annual cost of ND and other respiratory problems was estimated at $40 million, with ND still the number one problem, but with a declining incidence. Milder vaccines and mass application methods (spray, water and dust) were used. The committee reported in 1957 that ND seemed well under control with vaccination and that widespread vaccination for infectious bronchitis no doubt was part of the reason. The committee discussed vaccination breaks, vaccination in general, the use of killed vaccines and a continued review of the literature on ND during subsequent meetings.
The committee expressed concern in 1971 that recent outbreaks of VVND in the U.S. could cause devastating losses and endorsed recommendations by a group of scientists calling for VVND eradication and steps to minimize the risk of reintroduction. USDA was urged to initiate immediate quarantine measures.
Also at the 1971 meeting, E. E. Grass presented a paper on the ND situation in the U.S., which turned out to be a remarkably accurate prognostication of what lay ahead. He said, "Four and possibly five outbreaks of ND in the past year caused by a viscerotropic, velogenic ND virus (VVND) should at least give us some pause to review our vaccination recommendations, at least in some areas of the country. In fact, it may be time to review our whole approach to the ND problem in the U.S. Practices in vogue in the poultry industry are conducive to a wide spread of virulent strains of virus. While the reported outbreaks of ND remained fairly well contained, this does not mean the next outbreak may not become widespread."
Shortly after the 1971 USAHA meeting, VVND was diagnosed in commercial poultry in southern California, apparently introduced by spread from imported caged birds. It rapidly became widespread. A national emergency was declared by the Secretary of Agriculture and a major state/federal/industry eradication program implemented.
From 1972 to 1973, several papers on VVND were presented at the annual meeting. The committee discussed the progress of the eradication effort and commended USDA and the State of California for their efforts. The committee made recommendations pertaining to USDA quarantine facilities, quarantine of pet bird, sentinel birds during quarantine, prompt reporting of exotic diseases to states and modification of USDA regulations to include interstate movement of poultry.
The VVND eradication task force headquarters in Riverside, CA., closed July 3, 1974, and the emergency ended after an expenditure of $56 million in the eradication effort. USDA surveillance revealed VVND in backyard poultry flocks in Texas and pet bird import quarantine stations reported VVND infection. The committee urged USDA to adequately fund the quarantine stations. Pet bird importation and smuggling continued as sources of VVND infection and remain a major concern in 1996.
In the late 1970's, the committee appointed a subcommittee to develop the concept of a VVND negative flock certification program that would allow hatching eggs produced by certified VVND negative primary breeder flocks and premises to be shipped out of a VVND quarantine zone. Certification plans for turkey and chicken primary breeding flocks were approved and USDA was urged to implement them. A 1978 USDA position paper supported the idea and the 1984 revision of the USDA Exotic Newcastle Disease Eradication Guide incorporated the concept of VVND negative flock certification.
A subcommittee on reevaluation of Newcastle disease virus reported in 1981 the conclusion that all velogenic strains of ND virus should be prevented from entering the U.S., whether the strains are viscerotropic or not, and that the pathogenicity of an isolate can be determined only by bird inoculation. In 1983, the committee said importation of birds that harbor any ND virus that produces lethal infection in chickens and turkeys should be prohibited. All velogenic strains of ND virus should be considered exotic and eradicated and only qualified laboratories, under USDA permit, can possess or use velogenic strains.
In 1992, velogenic, neurotropic ND was diagnosed in turkeys and cormorants and the turkeys were depopulated. The committee requested that USDA notify the poultry industry of the north central states of the risks of velogenic ND.
Historic Outbreaks in U.S.*
April 1950 First detection of exotic Newcastle
Mexican double yellow-headed parrots
Mar. 14, 1972
Emergency declared to combat a spreading
Nov. 10, 1972 Extraordinary
emergency declared to
3, 1974 Exotic
Newcastle disease eradicated after the
February 1977 Serious
outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease
Aug. 2, 1996 Newcastle virus discovered at a
Dec. 27, 1996 USDA proposal to declare Costa
Feb. 7, 1997 USDA
restricts importation of live
April 18, 1997 USDA bans importation of live
May 21, 1997 USDA declare Costa Rica
free of exotic
1997 Outbreak of
exotic Newcastle disease
1998 USDA report
outbreak of exotic Newcastle
July 10, 1998 USDA declare
exotic Newcastle outbreak in
Aug. 18, 1998 USDA declares Great Britain
free of exotic
USDA reports outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease in game birds in
July 10, 1998
USDA declares exotic Newcastle disease outbreak in Fresno, CA eradicated
Aug. 18, 1998
USDA declares Great Britain free of
Oct 2, 1998
All quarantine lifted in exotic Newcastle disease outbreak in Fresno, CA
Dec. 10, 1998
USDA proposes to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of
poultry carcasses and parts or products of poultry carcasses from regions where
exotic Newcastle disease is considered to exist
July 16, 1999
USDA will allow, under certain conditions, importation of poultry
carcasses and parts or products of poultry carcasses processed in regions where
exotic Newcastle disease is considered to exist
Oct. 1999 USDA issues statement against smuggled birds confirming confiscation of birds with exotic Newcastle disease
Feb. 7, 2000
USDA proposes allowing poultry carcasses, parts, and other products not
otherwise allowed in the United States from regions that Mexico has declared
free of exotic Newcastle disease to transit the United States en route to other
Aug. 18, 2000
USDA amends regulations to allow poultry carcasses, parts, and other
products from regions Mexico has declared free of exotic Newcastle disease to
transit the United States en route to other countries
Oct. 4, 2002
Exotic Newcastle disease discovered in game birds in Southern California
Oct. 22, 2002
APHIS proposes declaring the Mexican states of Campeche, Quintana Roo and
Yucatan free of exotic Newcastle disease.
Nov. 25, 2002
USDA announces it is amending its exotic Newcastle disease regulations by
quarantining Los Angeles County, and portions of Riverside and San Bernardino
Exotic Newcastle discovered in first commercial egg farm, San Diego
County added to quarantine area
USDA issues moratorium on shipping any birds out of CA due to outbreak of
exotic Newcastle disease
Jan. 16, 2003
Outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease in NV - USDA defines event as a
single point source outbreak affecting multiple premises
Feb. 4, 2003 Outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease in AZ - USDA defines event as a single point source outbreak affecting multiple premises
USDA releases shipping moratorium on
April 9, 2003 END confirmed in El Paso, Texas - placed under USDA quarantine. Also, Luna, Dona Ana and Otero Counties in New Mexico due to dangerous contact from game birds.
*Intro by Frank Black Statistics From USDA, APHIS, OIE, USAHA, ISID