Flies Suspected In Transmitting Deadly Disease

US - Laboratory testing shows that flies exposed to a food source infected with “exotic Newcastle disease” (END) can pick up the virus and carry it for several days, perhaps later passing it on to chickens that eat it.
calendar icon 21 June 2007
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Poultry evil doer at rest.

“We can’t say that flies are proven to transmit END virus to chickens; only that flies can carry END virus and that evidence is mounting that flies may be able to transmit the virus between chickens,” says assistant veterinary entomologist Alec Gerry at the University of California, Riverside.

Mr. Gerry, along with UC Cooperative Extension associate veterinarian Carol Cardona, recently examined the role that flies might play in transmitting this virus between poultry.

END is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems of poultry and other birds. “END is so infectious that many birds die without ever showing signs of illness,” says Mr. Gerry. “Even poultry vaccinated against low virulence Newcastle disease virus strains are not adequately protected against the virus.”

In 2002 and 2003, an END outbreak in California resulted in quarantine of nearly 20,000 buildings, the destruction of 3.2 million birds, and eradication efforts that cost $170 million, says Mr. Gerry.

“Backyard poultry are geographically clumped in southern California with small numbers of poultry at many adjacent homes with only a few feet separating poultry at one home from the next,” he says. “During the 2002 and 2003 outbreak, homes that had poultry infected with exotic Newcastle disease virus were often in very close proximity.”

Source: CVBT

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