Submitted to: Proceedings of North Central Avian Disease Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2005
Publication Date: 3/14/2005
Citation: Richardson, J., Slemons, R., Swayne, D.E., Kapczynski, D.R., King, D.J., Katz, J., Nguyen, D. 2005. Exotic Newcastle disease conjunctivitis in a veterinary student [abstract]. Proceedings of the North Central Avian Disease Conference. p.62-63.
Technical Abstract: The USDA, APHIS, VS, Smith Kilbome Foreign Animal Disease Program at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Plum Island Animal Disease Center provides veterinary students hands on experience with foreign animal diseases. On June 7 8, 2004 the students performed necropsies on chickens with exotic Newcastle disease (END) and avian influenza and a pig with foot and mouth disease. During the course, students were told to report any illness after leaving Plum Island to the organizer of the program and to avoid direct and indirect contact with all food animals and poultry for 10 days after leaving Plum Island. On Friday, June 11 one student developed mild conjunctivitis in her left eye. She informed personnel at Plum Island and arranged for collection of a conjunctival membrane swab since END was a possible consideration. The swab was placed in brain heart infusion broth with antibiotics. No further medical attention was sought and the infection began to resolve on Sunday, June 13. The student continued to follow the required personal biosecurity measures and the conjunctivitis resolved without complications in 3 4 days. Two issues were considered in processing the conjunctival sample: 1) it was a human specimen, and 2) the presence of END virus was suspected based on the history of exposure. Consequently, the sample was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) where an avian paramyxovirus type 1 was isolated. The isolate was then transferred to the USDA ARS SEPRL for nucleotide sequence analysis. The matrix gene sequence was shown to have 100% identity to Parrot/US/MO/31378/96 while the remaining 14 END viruses utilized in the comparison had 99% identity. Data for the fusion gene was similar. Plum Island personnel confirmed that Parrot/US/MO/31378/96 was the virus used in their teaching laboratory. The biosecurity measures recommended by Plum Island were appropriate and adequate no other bird or human became infected. The issue of processing a human specimen potentially containing a foreign animal disease agent was addressed by obtaining support from CDC. This case serves as an example of how END could be accidentally or intentionally introduced into the United States. With a three day prepatent period between infection and clinical signs and modem rapid transportation systems, people entering the U.S. must avoid contact with birds if they have been working with exotic or domestic birds in areas where END is endemic. Poultry producers should not permit strangers or foreign visitors access to their poultry or facilities. New molecular virological techniques are valuable tools for establishing the identity and the origin of exotic animal viruses. Finally, it is important for patients to report their recent travels when visiting their physician.