Avian influenza

Epidemiology
AI, also known as “bird flu,” is a highly contagious viral disease that can infect several species of domesticated birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowls, etc.) and wild birds (ducks). It is caused by an A-type influenza virus: a single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the Orthomyxoviidae family. This virus has also been isolated in different mammals, including humans and pigs (the source of genetic recombinations between avian and human viruses).

Signs
Avian influenza can present many signs in birds, from minor disease (with little or no clinical signs) to disease that can quickly become fatal and lead to a serious epidemic. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (A virus belonging to H5, H7, and H9 subtypes) is characterized by serious signs and a fast deterioration towards death. The death rate can then reach 100% in less than 2 days. Strains that are highly pathogenic can lead to serious respiratory disease on humans.

Transmission
Virus transmission between birds occurs mainly by direct contact (respiratory secretion and fecal material), but can also be indirect (by food or contaminated water, bird droppings carrying the virus, and contaminated materials). Several species of bird are more resistant to the infection than others, such as ducks, which can be infected by pathogenic strains that present unnoticeable clinical signs. The highly pathogenic A/H5N1 strain shows clinical signs in domesticated poultry (chickens and turkeys) and in certain wild birds. The infections caused by highly pathogenic virus strains are rare and must not be confused with the infections caused by less pathogenic strains, which can also belong to the H5, H7, and H9 subtypes.

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Newcastle disease (ND)Top

Epidemiology
Newcastle disease is an acute, virulent, and very contagious disease that mainly affects domesticated or wild birds, but also humans. This disease is caused by a Paramyxovirus of type 1, wrapped, with single-stranded RNA, and whose strains have variable virulence.

Signs
ND is a worldwide issue that is mainly characterized by a respiratory disease, but depression, nervous signs, or diarrhea can be dominant clinical signs.

Transmission
The virus is spread by droppings, expectoration, and oral secretions. The contamination can be by direct or indirect (insects, wild birds, humans, materials) contact. Newcastle disease is a major health issue in poultry breeding as it has a mortality rate of close to 100% for nonvaccinated animals, and the infection spreads very fast.

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Avian mycoplasmosisTop

Epidemiology and signs
Avian Mycoplasma are responsible for many diseases in poultry, especially chronic respiratory diseases. The characteristic signs of the disease are respiratory rales, coughing, nasal discharge in chickens, and sinusitis in turkeys. The development of clinical manifestations, such as reduced growth and egg production, is usually slow to develop. Two mycoplasma species are primarily involved in poultry diseases: M. synoviae and M. gallisepticum.

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Avian MetapneumovirusTop

Epidemiology
Numerous strains of avian pneumoviruses (APVs) have been isolated from different species of intensively bred birds (chickens, hens, guinea fowls, and ducks). They can cause respiratory disease and/or clutch drops. Avian metapneumoviruses are associated with two diseases with similar symptoms and lesions: infectious rhinotracheitis in turkeys (IRT), and the swollen head syndrome (SHS) in poultry and guinea fowl.

Metapneumoviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses belonging to the Paramyxoviridae family. The antigenic and molecular characterization of these viruses has identified four subcategories: A, B, C, and D. Subcategories A (English), B (French), and D correspond to viruses isolated from turkeys in Europe, with the B subcategory being widely dominant in Europe. The C subcategory corresponds to a strain of pneumovirus isolated in the USA, with antigenic and biological characteristics slightly different from those of the other typical subtypes.

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