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The avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 (APMV-1), also known as Newcastle disease virus (NDV), is responsible for one of the most severe infectious diseases in birds, and is considered as a major economic threat to poultry producers worldwide (Aldous and others 2003).
During the 1980s, a pigeon-adapted variant of the APMV-1 (PPMV-1) caused a panzootic that continues to affect pigeons and doves around the world. In Italy, as in other European countries, the PPMV-1 is reported to be endemic (Alexander and others 1998, 1999b, Capua and Cancellotti 1999, Aldous and others 2004), and to circulate among racing, show and feral pigeons, with occasional spillover into domestic poultry.
PPMV-1 can be distinguished from other APMV-1 by the haemagglutination inhibition test (HI) using specific monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Sequencing of fusion protein, as described by Alexander and others (1997), enables grouping of the pigeon variant within a distinct sublineage (4b) (Aldous and others 2003).
In this paper, we report the identification of APMV-1 viruses of sublineage 4a isolated from collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) during recent passive surveillance activities carried out on wild birds in Italy.
Between October 2010 and March 2011, 102 samples of brain tissue collected from dead birds were submitted to the International Reference Laboratory for Newcastle Disease at IZSVe (IRL-ND).
It is noteworthy that during the first 2 weeks of January 2011, about 3000 collared doves were found dead in a restricted area of the Emilia Romagna region (central-northern Italy). Dead birds from …
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