WHAT IS NEW­CAS­TLE DIS­EASE?

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New­cas­tle dis­ease is a con­ta­gious vi­ral dis­ease af­fect­ing do­mes­tic and wild birds. It was iden­ti­fied in New­cas­tle-upon-Tyne in 1927, hence the name. Hu­mans aren’t nor­mally af­fected, but peo­ple in direct con­tact with in­fected birds may de­velop a slight eye in­fec­tion, which passes with­out treat­ment. The dis­ease was last con­firmed in Great Bri­tain in 2005/06 when it in­fected pheas­ants and par­tridges in Sur­rey and East Loth­ian. Most com­mer­cial flocks are vac­ci­nated against ND. ND is “no­ti­fi­able”, which means if you sus­pect it in your flock you must re­port it im­me­di­ately by call­ing the De­fra Ru­ral Ser­vices Helpline, tel: 03000 200 301. Fail­ure to do so is an of­fence. Res­pi­ra­tory dis­tress such as gap­ing, cough­ing, sneez­ing, gur­gling and rat­tling. Tremors and paral­y­sis and twist­ing of the neck. Un­usu­ally wa­tery fae­ces that are yel­low­ish-green in colour. De­pres­sion and lack of ap­petite. Af­fected hens may also sud­denly pro­duce fewer or soft-shelled eggs. The dis­ease may quickly lead to death or be less se­vere, with breath­ing prob­lems and re­duced egg pro­duc­tion the only de­tectable signs. Once con­tracted there is no treat­ment and birds must be culled. New­cas­tle Dis­ease is spread by con­tact with bod­ily flu­ids of in­fected birds, es­pe­cially fae­ces, so good biose­cu­rity is para­mount. Only buy from sell­ers with good hy­giene stan­dards and quar­an­tine all new or sick birds. Keep food and wa­ter un­der cover to pro­tect from wild birds. Set up a dis­in­fec­tant foot­bath at the edge of your poul­try en­clo­sure and wash your boots. You can vac­ci­nate your flock against New­cas­tle Dis­ease — con­tact your vet for in­for­ma­tion.

What are the signs? What should I do?

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