Newcastle disease virus

The Newcastle disease virus (NDV) infects domestic and wild birds, having been described in at least 241 species. NDV is an enveloped, single stranded RNA virus within the family of Paramyxoviridae, genus Avulavirus. There are ten serotypes of avian paramyxoviruses named APMV-1 to APMV-10; NDV is known as APMV-1. Depending upon the disease signs and lesions in chicken, NDV can be classified into four groups/pathotypes: apathogenic (avirulent), low virulent (lentogenic), moderately virulent (mesogenic), highly virulent (velogenic).

  • Newcastle disease virus is a notifiable disease and should be reported.
    Please see the Defra website for advice on how to spot and report the disease.

Associated diseases

Newcastle disease, caused by NDV, is one of the most important diseases of poultry around the globe.

Clinical signs:

  • Oedema (swelling) of the face and abnormal thirst
  • Greenish diarrhoea, marked co-infection in trachea, heart, liver and kidneys, and haemorrhages in the proventriculus
  • Muscular tremors, torticollis (where the head is persistently turned to one side), opisthotonous (spasm of the muscles causing backward arching), paralysis of the legs and wings
  • Mortality and morbidity can be as high as 100%

Disease transmission:

Inhalation (aerosol) and ingestion (contaminated food and faeces) are the most common routes of transmission.

Disease prevalence:

Currently, ND is present in six of the seven continents of the world and remains endemic in many countries of Asia, Middle East and Africa and Central America and in several parts of South America.

Impact for Society – what are we doing?

ND has more impact on the world’s economy than any other animal disease. In poor countries, the disease has a major effect on poverty. Currently vaccination against ND is performed using either the live or inactivated lentogenic/mesogenic strains of NDV. 

The Pirbright Institute is researching the molecular bases of immune induction, the virus’s tumour killing properties and the use of NDV as vaccine vector both for birds and for mammals. This information will be valuable in the development of more effective vaccine formulations and in the use of NDV for efficient gene delivery and as an oncolytic agent.                                                             

Research papers

Gowthaman V, Singh S D, Dhama K, Desingu P A, Kumar A, Malik Y S, Munir M (2016)

VirusDisease early view,
Munir M (2016)

Mononegaviruses of veterinary importance. Volume 2: Molecular epidemiology and control (edited by M Munir, CABI) , 15-40
Satharasinghe D A, Murulitharan K, Tan S W, Yeap S K, Munir M, Ideris A, Omar A R (2016)

Frontiers in Microbiology 7, 1907
Shabbir M Z, Akhtar S, Tang Y, Yaqub T, Ahmad A, Mustafa G, Alam M A, Santhakumar D, Nair V, Munir M (2016)

Journal of General Virology early view,

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