Livestock Risks and Opportunities: Newcastle Disease and Avian Influenza in Africa

Emma Gillian Gardner


Newcastle disease is an endemic and devastating disease in African countries, and is a differential diagnosis for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The objective of this study was to analyze the reporting data from African Union member countries of Newcastle disease to OIE’s World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID), and to characterize the data within the context of Avian Influenza H5N1. Data were gathered from the WAHID database on 54 African Union member countries from January 2000- December 2011. Paired t-tests were performed on reported Newcastle disease outbreaks pre- and post- HPAI introduction to the African continent. Of the 54 countries included, 40.7% had reported outbreak information to the OIE consistently over the study period. Three countries demonstrated a significant difference in mean number of outbreaks reported from 2000-2005 (prior to confirmed outbreaks of HPAI subtype H5N1 on the African continent) compared to 2006-2011.  Surveillance for Newcastle disease in Africa has not improved despite response to outbreaks of HPAI subtype H5N1, which included strengthening diagnostic infrastructure. An analysis and evaluation of Newcastle disease surveillance in Africa would aid in determining how to improve the control of an economically important poultry disease in addition to facilitating the rapid detection of HPAI. Improving Newcastle disease surveillance would benefit the farmers and families who rely on poultry for nutrition and livelihood. It would also benefit the global vigil against emerging infectious diseases.


Newcastle Disease; Poultry; Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza; Outbreak preparedness

Full Text:



Alders, R. G. (2001) SADC planning workshop on Newcastle disease control in village chickens. Proceedings of an International Workshop, Maputo, Mozambique, 6-9 March, 2000. (ACIAR Proceedings No.103), 158pp.

Alders R.G., Sradbrow P.B., Young M.P. eds. (2009) Village chickens, poverty alleviation and the sustainable control of Newcastle disease. Proceedings of an international conference held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 5–7 October 2005. ACIAR Proceedings No. 131, 235 pp.

Cattoli, G., Fusaro, A., Monne, I., S., Le Menach, A., Maregeya, B., Nchare, A., Bangana, I., Garb Maina, A., N’Goran Koffi, J.N., Thiam, H., Bezeid, O.E.M.A., Salviato, A., Nisi, R., Terregino, C., Capua, I. (2010) Emergence of a new genetic lineage of Newcastle disease virus in West and Central Africa – implications for diagnosis and control. Veterinary Microbiology 142(3-4):168-176.

FAOSTAT (2013). Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome. Available at: (accessed on July 12, 2013).

Ogundipe, G.A.T., Oluokun, S.B., Esuruoso, G.O. (1989) The development and efficiency of the Animal Health Information System in Nigeria. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 7:121-135.

Spickler, Anna Rovid, and James A. Roth, eds.(2009) Emerging and exotic diseases of animals. The Center for Food Security and Public Health. Iowa State University.

World Animal Health Information Database (2012). OIE, Paris. Available at: (accessed Nov 2012-July 2013)

Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2012) OIE, Paris. Available at: (accessed on 10 December 2012).