Six-year surveillance of Newcastle disease virus in wild birds in north-eastern Spain (Catalonia)

Sebastian Napp, Anna Alba, Ana Isabel Rocha, Azucena Sánchez, Raquel Rivas, Natalia Majó, Mireia Perarnau, Cristina Massot, Elena San Miguel, Mercé Soler, Núria Busquets

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© 2016 Houghton Trust Ltd. Given that Newcastle disease (ND) is one of the major threats for the poultry industry, testing of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) has been carried out since 2010 in cases of mortality in wild birds (passive surveillance) in Catalonia. The objective is to provide an early warning system to prevent the infection of poultry. Since 2010, 35 episodes of mortality in wild birds were attributed to NDV infection. Throughout this period there was a progressive expansion of NDV to new areas, with an increase in the episodes of mortality, although it is not clear whether they were the result of the spread of the virus, or of the improvement of the surveillance. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that two distinct sublineages of NDV, 4a and 4b, were circulating in Catalonia. Both sublineages seem to be endemic in the wild bird population, affecting mainly Eurasian-collared doves, with a clear pattern in relation to its spatial distribution (coincident with the distribution of this species), and its temporal distribution (with the majority of cases between September and February). So far, endemicity in wild birds has not resulted in ND outbreaks in poultry. However, there are still many uncertainties about, for example, whether NDV may expand to new areas of Catalonia (with higher poultry density), or about the threat that the apparently more novel sublineage 4a may represent. Hence, efforts should be made so that measures to prevent infection of poultry farms (particularly in high-risk areas and periods) are encouraged, and surveillance is maintained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-67
JournalAvian Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • APMV-1
  • avian paramyxovirus type 1
  • Catalonia
  • Eurasian collared dove
  • Newcastle disease virus
  • phylogenetic studies
  • pigeon paramyxovirus type 1
  • PPMV-1
  • Spain
  • surveillance


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