Health & Disease

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Diseases Overview

Common Infectious
Diseases

Common Non-Infectious
Diseases

Prevention

Notifiable Diseases

Disease Chart

Notifiable Diseases

If these diseases below are diagnosed, it means that DEFRA must be informed.

Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease
In 2003 Holland was ravaged by Avian Influenza (AI). Many shows were cancelled and many pure breed poultry slaughtered. Understandably, no-one wishes to go through that again or indeed for it to happen in this country with our strong tradition of poultry keeping, breeding and exhibiting.

AI

  • AI is a serious viral disease which is rapidly fatal. Like other influenzas, there are various strains, some more dangerous (pathogenic) than others.
  • The most likely route of introduction to an area is by free-flying waterfowl, but domestic waterfowl can carry it with few clinical signs and then infect chickens.
  • Clincical signs in chickens include respiratory signs and high mortality.
  • The virus is mainly transmitted in droppings and can survive in damp and warm conditions for 40-60 days: a tiny amount can infect huge numbers of birds.
  • It is easily transported by contaminated muck on boots, clothing, dirty crates or vehicles.
  • It is, however, susceptible to approved virucidal disinfectants. A list of approved disinfectants is on the DEFRA website.
  • There is no AI vaccine available at present.
  • Control of an outbreak: movement restrictions, biosecurity, slaughter and possible de-population of surrounding area.

ND

  • ND is also a serious viral disease which is rapidly fatal.
  • The main distributors can be pigeons which carry a close variant of the virus, waterfowl can carry ND with few clinical signs.
  • Clinical signs in chickens can be variable but may include sudden death with previous respiratory and nervous signs.
  • The virus is transmitted by aerosol and in droppings. It can survive in the dead host or in excretions for several weeks at cool temperatures, several years if frozen. High (over 37°C) temperatures reduce this to about 30 days.
  • It is easily transported by contaminated muck on boots, clothing, dirty crates or vehicles and by wild birds.
  • It is susceptible to approved virucidal disinfectants. A list of approved disinfectants is on the DEFRA website.
  • There is an efficient vaccine (no vaccine is 100% effective, they reduce signs of the disease but may mask the presence of disease).
  • Control of an outbreak: vaccination, movement restrictions, biosecurity, some slaughter.

Some breeders already protect their birds against ND by vaccination: there is no similar protection against AI. However, some simple biosecurity measures will go a long way towards prevention of a devastating outbreak of either disease in your flock and in the poultry industry and Fancy generally.