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13. The origins of Newcastle disease


Do you know when and where was the first outbreak of Newcastle disease?


The first recognized outbreak of Newcastle disease, disease caused by the Paramyxovirus Type 1, was in Java (Indonesia) in 1926 and in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1927 (Doyle, 1927).

However similar disease outbreaks were reported in Central Europe before this date. Fowl plague was identified clinically during the period of 1833 or earlier (Manninger, 1949) and the viral cause of this disease was established in 1900 (Jacotot, 1950).


Fowl Plague virus is classified as Avian Influenza (Easterday and Tumova, 1972), however the lesions of classical fowl plague in chickens were very similar to the acute form of Newcastle disease.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)


Newcastle disease: From an unknown disease to a pandemic situation

The name “Newcastle disease” was given by Doyle as a temporary measure in order to avoid descriptive names that could confused with other diseases (Doyle, 1935).


The pattern of outbreaks that are due to virulent NDV throughout the world suggest that several outbreaks have occurred in poultry since 1926.


The first reported pandemic situation started in 1926 and took 20 years to become pandemic.


The second started in 1960 and took just 4 years to reach most countries (Hanson, 1972), the difference in time being because of the changes in transportation (air transportation).

There was probably another pandemic situation in the late 1970’s (Alexander et al., 1997; Lomniczi et al., 1998; Herczeg et al., 2001) and in the 1980’s in racing pigeons.

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