Chickens in live bird markets (LBMs) from six different regions of Tanzania were surveyed for Newcastle disease (ND) virus (NDV) and avian influenza virus in 2012. ELISA-based serology, virus isolation, and characterization, including pathotyping was conducted. Virulent NDV was isolated from almost 10% of the tested samples, with two distinct genotypes being detected. One genotype was similar to recent viruses circulating in Kenya and Uganda, which share a northern border with Tanzania. Several viruses of this genotype were also isolated from Tanzania in 1995, the last time surveillance for NDV was conducted in the country. The second genotype of virus from Tanzania was closely related to viruses from Mozambique, a southern neighbor, and more distantly to viruses from South Africa, Botswana, and several European countries. Partial fusion gene sequence from the isolated viruses showed identical fusion cleavage sites that were compatible with virulent viruses. Selected viruses were tested by the intracerebral pathogenicity index, and all viruses tested had scores of >1.78, indicating highly virulent viruses. Serology showed only a third of the chickens had detectable antibody to NDV, suggesting that vaccination is not being commonly used in the country, despite the availability of vaccines in agricultural-related markets. All samples were taken from clinically healthy birds, and it is believed that the birds were sold or slaughtered before showing ND clinical signs. LBMs remain a biosecurity risk for farmers through the return of live infected birds to the farm or village or the movement of virus on fomites, such as uncleaned wooden cages.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Suzanne DeBlois and Tim Olivier for technical assistance in this study. This study was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Current Research Information System projects 6040-32000-066 and 6040-32000-072 and the Centers for Excellence in Influenza Research agreement AAI12004-001-02001.
- Newcastle disease virus
- avian avulavirus 1
- avian influenza
- avian paramyxovirus 1