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Newcastle Disease – What You Should Know

Newcastle Disease, sometimes called the bird flu, is a severe viral infection that attacks various species of wild and domestic birds on varying levels. Domestic fowl such as turkeys, geese and pheasants are most affected by the disease while a more severe form of the disease afflicts geese, ducks, quail and penguins.

There is also a rare form of the infection, which infects geese and ducks, but the symptoms in these birds are similar to those of other types of wild species. Avian influenza is caused by a group of viruses known as the “anthrax virus species”. In humans, the disease can cause

Newcastle Disease
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Fever blisters

And in several animals such as birds, the infection can spread to the body parts where the virus has not yet reached. The initial symptom is often intense itchiness which increases in severity over a period of time and then spreads rapidly into all parts of the body. Other symptoms include

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Abdominal swelling

The Newcastle disease in birds is caused by two different types of avian influenza viruses, A and B. While the first forms of the infection do not often affect the body as humans do, the later forms, A and B, cause the most severe symptoms in birds. The disease is most commonly spread by direct contact with the droppings of sick birds.

Newcastle Disease
Virulent Newcastle Disease Prevention Infographic

As soon as you suspect that you have this disease, you need to take precautionary measures. First, clean your premises thoroughly and sanitize everything including utensils, towels and food and water containers. You should also wash and disinfect the area around your aviary linens and feeders.

You should also keep your aviary clean and disinfected

Once you are sure that you have the disease, you must quarantine your aviary for several days. This will prevent the spread of the infection. The length of time needed depends on how severe the infection is in each bird, the number of infected birds and the number of sick birds.

Contact your local vets for treatment. The treatment is normally given through intravenous injection. It will also depend on the extent of the infection. If there is no immediate medical help available, surgery may be recommended. It is important to note that the treatment of this disease is highly infectious and thus any spillage of infected fluid needs to be cleaned up immediately.

If the Newcastle disease has spread to your flock, the local vets may be able to provide advice. They will advise you on the best way to keep your poultry healthy by improving the environment and feeding habits of your flock. You may also be asked to give your flock medicines to control infections.

Although the bird flu is not harmful to humans, it can still spread through touch

If you own a chicken or other type of wild bird, you should make sure that everyone in your flock is vaccinated against the bird flu. Otherwise, bird flu could infect them. In addition to the infection, it is important to treat the bird flu itself. Because the infection is airborne, it spreads easily through droppings.

You can help prevent the disease from spreading to others by using good sanitation and hygiene practices. Make sure you have your bird flu vaccination before you take it into the aviary. Also, check your aviary regularly for droppings. Birds can carry the infection from one bird to another.

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By cleaning the aviary and the area around it regularly, you are reducing the possibility that a sick bird will infect others. If you have an infected bird, contact your vet immediately. They will provide treatment and hopefully, cure the disease. However, if you cannot treat the disease, then you may need to quarantine your bird until the disease is cured.

The sooner you catch the disease, the more effective the treatment is likely to be. The disease can spread quickly from one bird to another. For this reason, it is important to isolate the bird. If a healthy bird is moved to another flock, it may pass the infection to another bird.

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