Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Newcastle disease outbreak in Namibia

Photograph: James Glossop for The Times Sakuntala Shlwakoti vaccinates a chicken against Newcastle disease using an eye-drop in the village of Khundunabayi Gabesha Chowk in Jhapa, Nepal. In the country, an Edinburgh-based charity backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, works to improve animal health and consequently human lives through animal disease vaccination programmes. Specifically, they target Newcastle Disease, which blights backyard poultry, killing 90%+ of the flock year after year. April 2014.

Two outbreaks of Newcastle disease were reported in Namibia last month, according to a report the country submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Newcastle disease or pseudo-fowl pest, is to chickens what rinderpest is to cattle. It is a highly infectious viral disease that causes very high mortality (up to 100 percent in severe epidemics) in poultry and wild birds around the world.
However, unlike rinderpest, which has been eradicated from many areas where it was prevalent, Newcastle disease remains endemic in many     regions and continues to severely limit poultry production in a number of developing countries. It is particularly devastating for small village farmers who usually have limited means of protecting their flock. Newcastle     disease not only affects domestic fowls, but can also affect turkeys, pheasants, pigeons, quail and guinea fowl to varying degrees. Ducks and geese are also susceptible to infection, but these species rarely succumb to the disease.
The outbreak was recorded in the country during July 2016 at Etunda, Outapi and Nakayale between 15 and 16 July. The information was received on 22 July 2016 from Dr Adrianatus Florentius Maseke, Chief Veterinary Officer, Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Windhoek. Newcastle disease remains the major impediment to village poultry production. The disease is highly transmissible: birds are normally infected through direct contact with diseased or carrier birds but the virus can also be carried on contaminated objects such as chicken or egg crates, feed, vehicles, dust and clothing. The virus is usually inactivated by direct sunlight but in cool weather, the virus can survive in faeces and contaminated housing for up to 21 days.
The virus can also persist in poultry products (meat and eggs) and can be carried by migrating wild birds. Eradication of Newcastle disease is therefore unlikely and there are few poultry species which are resistant to the disease. Continual vaccination programmes currently offer the only sustainable prospect for control.
Of the 69 birds that were found infected, 63 died.  A total 228 fowls were destroyed and disinfection/disinfestation was carried out in response to the outbreak. The outbreak was attributed to the illegal movement of animals and vaccination.

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