A poultry farm in southern Switzerland has been given a clean bill of health following a recent outbreak of the virulent Newcastle virus that resulted in thousands of chickens being put down.
Veterinarians in canton Ticino confirmed that the farm is no longer infected and that all remaining animals are now free of the disease. The farm had been placed under strict quarantine since the end of November and 6,000 chickens were euthanised to contain the spread of the virus. The outbreak was the first of its kind in Switzerland.
The facility’s owner alerted the cantonal veterinarian’s office after observing a 20% decrease in egg laying production. Laboratory tests conducted by the University of Zurichˈs Institute of Veterinary Bacteriologyexternal link confirmed the presence of the highly contagious virus - a disease which is associated with high economic losses within the industry.
Newcastle disease is airborne and may also be spread indirectly by people. Infected animals have to be put down, but the virus is not dangerous to humans.
Epidemiological tests and health checks carried out over the last few weeks confirmed that there were no new infections on the Ticino farm, said the cantonal veterinarian. Laboratory tests have not yet established the root cause of the outbreak.