Re: birding-aus Facts and Fiction on Newcastle Disease

To: Harry Clarke <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Facts and Fiction on Newcastle Disease
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 11:19:34
Harry -

At 09:11 14/05/1999 +1000, you wrote:
>are the major types of migrants to Australia
>unlikely to be carriers of ND? Even if they are, can a country learn to
>live with ND or does it always become a virulent problem? Should we blame
>migratory birds or cooked chicken imports for the occurrence of the disease
>in Australia?

I think the main threat of virulent strains (we already have some mild
strains, I believe) of Newcastle Disease entering Australia is through
human movement and trade rather than through migratory birds.  I know that
there has been quite a lot of testing of migratory birds (through taking
blood samples) by state ag or health departments in the course of the
North-West Australia Wader Study Expeditions to Roebuck Bay near Broome and
the Pilbara coast, and in the Northern Territory and (probably) north
Queensland.  I do not think that any of this sampling has come up with
anything alarming, and that disease levels among the birds tested were very
low.  It would be interesting to get some more detailed information on

With regard to imports of chicken meat; Birds Australia did make a
submission (based on expert veterinary advice) to the Commonwealth
Government around three years ago recommending against the relaxation of
controls over this trade on the grounds that it increased the likelihood of
letting in nasty strains of ND which could get out into wild bird populations.

There is another way (maybe even more likely than through legal trade).
AQIS (the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) is constantly
finding visitors entering the country who fail to declare a variety of
foods and other material that could  carry ND and many other diseases or
organisms harmful to humans, livestock, commercial crops and native
wildlife.  Despite their best efforts of AQIS, there must be many
travellers entering the country who are getting through our quarantine
barriers with potential disaster in their baggage.


Hugo Phillipps,
Birds Australia,
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East, VIC 3123, Australia.
Tel: (03) 9882 2622. Fax: (03) 9882 2677.
O/s: +61 3 9882 2622. Fax: +61 3 9882 2677.
Email: <>
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