Thermostable Vaccines in the Control of Newcastle Disease in Village Chickens
A History by Professor Emeritus P.B Spradbrow
A History by Professor Emeritus P.B Spradbrow
Where did Newcastle disease come from?
With what event do we start a history of Newcastle disease? For readers of the English language the initial study is usually accepted as that of Doyle in 1927. He described a “new” disease of chickens that occurred at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK during the previous year. He was able to distinguish it from the major infectious disease of chickens recognised at that time and called fowl plague. The causal virus of fowl plague was eventually shown to be an influenza virus and the disease is now called avian influenza. Newcastle disease also entered the Dutch literature with outbreaks, also in 1926, at sites in present day Indonesia. The new disease spread rapidly to involve the developing chicken industries in many countries.
Lancaster (1966) has written an interesting account of the documented early spread of Newcastle disease. He postulates that there may have been earlier outbreaks that were not adequately described. Of interest to the present audience, Lancaster mentions suggestions that a disease that may have been Newcastle disease was transmitted from Asia to Africa in the mid 19th century. This speculation originated in two cited reports, in Portuguese, from veterinary institutes in Mozambique. It would be of interest if these reports from 1950 and 1961 still exist.
We know now that Newcastle disease presents in several clinical forms. It is possible that only severe epizootics attracted early attention and that milder forms of the disease had long been present in small chicken flocks. Increase in virulence could be attributed to changes in the virus or to changes in husbandry of commercial chickens. It seems certain that the early spread of the disease was facilitated by movement of live birds by land and by sea.
The developing commercial poultry industry at that time was obliged to come to terms with this disease. Flocks of village chickens had no protection from the devastating disease.
Networks and training
Agencies other than ACIAR have become involved in the projects, supporting vaccine activities in country or training projects at home or in Australia. These agencies include FAO, UNHCR, World Bank, IAEA and AusAID. Many NGOs have been supportive.
Vaccine production and testing was only the foundation for the successful projects. Sustainable vaccination campaigns have required vaccine production in-country and this depended on appropriate training at international workshops or at the University of Queensland.
Practical workshops concerned with vaccine production and vaccination have been required to transfer skills. Six short training workshops sponsored by ACIAR and other agencies have been held in developing countries. These were in Pretoria (for 16 African countries), in Dar es Salaam (for Tanzania and Mozambique), and in Ghana, Myanmar, Bhutan and Cambodia. Delegates have attended either a short (usually two days) administrative workshop or a longer practical laboratory workshop. The administrative workshops have been taught by Dr Robyn Alders and Professor Peter Spradbrow. Topics have included Newcastle disease, Newcastle disease vaccines and extension activities. Ms Sally Grimes has conducted the practical workshops, concentrating on vaccine production and testing, and serological tests. Intensive laboratory courses, to three months in duration, were conducted at the John Francis Virology Laboratory and funded by various international agencies.
Scattered groups of scientists with common interests have been termed “invisible colleges”. The sources of information mentioned above have helped bind these groups. The internet now allows us to formalise these groups and to share information. The International Network for Family Poultry Development (formerly the African Network for Rural Poultry Development) has been very beneficial. Their website and electronic newsletter are recommended.
Also essential to the success of projects has been the development of new extension materials and activities. These have targeted all the stakeholders – the women who are the traditional keepers of village chickens, the people who will do the vaccinations, and all the levels of bureaucracy where pertinent decisions are made. Dr Robyn Alders has initiated and developed much of this material.
Alders, R. G. and Spradbrow, P. B. (2001) SADC Planning workshop on Newcastle Disease Control in Village Chickens. Proceedings No. 103. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Canberra. pp 170.
Doyle, T. M. (1927) Journal of Comparative Pathology 40 144-169. A hitherto unrecorded disease of fowls due to a filter-passing virus.
Foster, A., Chitukuro, H. R., Tuppa, E., Mwanjala, T. and Kusila, C. (1999) Veterinary Microbiology 68 127-130 Thermostable Newcastle disease vaccines in Tanzania.
Grimes, S. E. (2002) Report. I-2 Newcastle Disease Vaccine. Summary of Experiments at John Francis Virology Laboratory January 2001 to December 2001.
Lancaster, J. E. 91966) Newcastle Disease. A Review of Some of the Literature Published Between 1926 and 1964. Monograph No. 3. Canadian Department of Agriculture. Ottawa. pp188.
Simmons, G. C. (1967) Australian Veterinary Journal. 43 29-31. The isolation of Newcastle disease virus in Queensland.
Spradbrow, P. B. ed (1992) Newcastle Disease in Village Chickens. Control with Thermostable Oral Vaccines. Proceedings No. 39. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Canberra. pp189.
Spradbrow, P. B. (1993/94) Poultry Science Reviews. 8 57-96. Newcastle disease in village chickens.
Spradbrow, P. B., MacKenzie, M. and Grimes, S. E. (1995) Veterinary Microbiology 46 21-28. Recent isolates of Newcastle disease virus in Australia.
Tu, T. D. (2001) in Alders, R. G. and Spradbrow, P. B. eds SADC Planning Workshop on Newcastle Disease Control in Village chickens. Proceedings No. 103. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Canberra. Village chicken production in Vietnam and Newcastle disease control with thermostable vaccine. pp 110-114.