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AT the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 several Newcastle disease outbreaks in unvaccinated poultry associated with pigeon paramyxovirus type 1 (PPMV-1) infection were officially reported by two northern European countries (OIE 2010, 2011a, b, c). Infected wild birds were suspected to be the source of the virus, presumably coming into contact with poultry, or gaining access to poultry houses, during the severe winter conditions.
PPMV-1 is a virulent ‘pigeon variant’ Newcastle disease virus (of avian paramyxovirus genotype 4b/VIb) and the cause of the continuing panzootic that began in racing and feral pigeons more than 30 years ago. PPMV-1 strains are also fully capable of infecting …