New Newcastle disease virus detected in Russia

For the first time in Russia, a Newcastle disease virus of genotype VII has been detected in a poultry flock.

Collette Fitz |
Collette Fitz |

Newcastle disease was diagnosed in a flock of village poultry in the Kursk oblast of Russia. Of the 318 birds in the village of Kislino, 279 died.

Subsequent investigations revealed the presence of the genotype VII of the Newcastle disease virus. This was the first detection of this genotype had been identified in the country, according to the official report from the agriculture ministry to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The ministry reports that the disease was detected at the veterinary laboratory in Kursk. This was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at the All-Russian Research Institute for Animal Health, and the same agency carried out the virus sequencing. These tests identified genotype VII. Genotype VI was involved in previous outbreaks that date back to 2013. Source of the infection is unknown.

Located in Russia’s Central Federal District, the Kursk oblast is in the west of the country. It shares an international border with Ukraine, as well as the Russian oblasts of Belgorod, Bryansk, Oryol, Lipetsk and Voronezh.

Previous outbreaks in Russia

Just one month ago, Newcastle disease was reported in the Far East federal district of Russia. The outbreak had occurred in early September, and afflicted a village flock of 250 birds in the Shilkinsky district of Zabaykalsky krai. The genotype of the virus was not identified in the report to the OIE from the agriculture ministry, nor in a subsequent outbreak in the same region in October. That involved a backyard flock in the village of Domna in Chitinsky district. Of the 38 birds there, 29 died.

Based on information received by the OIE, there were seven outbreaks of Newcastle disease in Russia during the first 6 months of 2019 — three in Stavropol krai (North Caucasian federal district), and one in each of Krasnodar krai (Southern district), Chechnya (also North Caucasian district), Primorsky krai (Far Eastern district), and Saratov oblast (Volga district). The disease was diagnosed following high levels of mortality among small flocks.

Following a study in 2017, researchers found the epidemiological situation regarding Newcastle disease in Russia to be unstable. They detected antibodies to the virus in around 30% of the backyard flocks sampled.

Global Newcastle disease situation

Few nations have never recorded an outbreak of the disease.

Newcastle disease is known to be present in a number of countries in Asia and Africa, as well as Colombia, according to the OIE. It records the only “current disease event” during the first half of 2019 to be in U.S. poultry.

In May of 2018, virulent Newcastle disease (vND) was first diagnosed in the U.S.. Since that time, vND has mainly occurred in flocks of “backyard exhibition chickens” in California.

As of November 22, the disease has been confirmed at 454 premises in the state, according to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). These outbreaks were in the counties of Riverside (260), San Bernardino (145), Los Angeles (45), and one each in Ventura, Alameda, and San Diego. It has also been found in one flock in Utah and one in Arizona.

Although vND has been largely confined to non-commercial flocks in the U.S., the virus has also been detected at several commercial premises with pullets and layers, and at one research facility. There was a break in new infections during September and October this year, but the vND virus has been detected at four locations in San Bernardino County since mid-November.

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