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Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND)

Other Names: Exotic Newcastle Disease

Virulent Newcastle disease (VND), formerly known as Exotic Newcastle Disease, is a serious, highly contagious viral disease caused by the avian paramyxovirus. It affects both domestic and wild birds, including chickens.

Some species do not show any or have limited signs of disease if they become infected, including parrots and other psittacine birds. Most infected chickens and turkeys eventually die from this disease but there is a period before they succumb when they can easily spread the virus.

VND has historically been a problem in California. The virus has been detected nearly every year in California, primarily in psitticine and free-flying wild-bird species. Major outbreaks have occurred in 1971 and again in 2002, in which the source was tracked back to illegally imported gamefowl.

Disease Transmission

VND is primarily transmitted by the movement of infected birds, but also by people who have the virus on their clothes or shoes, and by equipment or vehicles that can carry and transport the disease from place to place.

The virus can survive for several weeks in a warm, humid environment, and indefinitely in frozen material. It is however, rapidly destroyed by dehydration and sunlight, 1 minute at boiling temperature, or by common household disinfectants.

Incubation Period

The incubation period is typically 2–15 days post-exposure. Poultry can shed the virus in their feces for up to 1-2 weeks following infection. Psittacine birds (parrots, parakeets, and macaws) can shed the virus for several months to 1 year following infection (who most often show no signs of being infected).

Clinical Signs

Sneezing, coughing, and gasping for air
Nasal discharge
Greenish, watery diarrhea
Muscular tremors
Wry neck
Complete paralysis
Drop in egg production
Thin-shelled eggs
Swelling around the eyes
Sudden death


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory tests


Report disease: DVH is a reportable disease in the United States, meaning that if you suspect that your duck has this disease, by law you need to report it to your veterinarian, or a state or federal veterinarian.:



  • Vaccinate your flock.
  • Avoid visiting other facilities which house birds during high risk alerts
  • Protect your flock from exposure to wild birds by covering feed and water sources and preventing them from accessing them.
  • Quarantine new additions to the flock for at least 2 weeks. Always tend to non-quarantined birds first, and care for new birds second.


Usually fatal

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Exposure to wild birds
  • Living in areas where prior outbreaks have occurred.

Also Consider