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1.1     Introduction

Newcastle Disease (ND) is the most important viral disease of poultry in the world including developing countries (Adene, 1999; Spradbrow, 1997). In Africa and Asia ND is a major constraint against the development of both industrial and village poultry production (Alders et al., 2001). ND has been reported as one of the greatest constraints to the development of rural poultry production in Nigeria (Shamaki et al., 1989; Oladele et al., 2003). ND is a highly contagious and commonly fatal ribonucleic acid virus infection of birds which can cause up 100 percent mortality in susceptible chickens. Many avian species may become infected but dramatic losses are seen most often in domestic fowl and to a lesser extent in turkeys and Pheasants (Rosenbeger, 1981; Vickers and Hanson, 1982; Gordon and Jordan,1982) BIOLOGY PROJECT TOPICS PDF

ND is caused by avian paramyxovirus type-1(APMV-1) which is classified with other paramyxoviruses in the genus Avulavirus, subfamily paramyxovirinae, family paramyxoviridae, and order mononegavirales. It is an enveloped virus and has a negative sense single strand RNA genome (Lamb et al., 2005). The genome contains six genes 31-MP-P-M-F-HN-L-51 that encode six major proteins: nucleoprotein, phosphoprotein, matrix protein, fusion protein, haemmaglutinnin-neuraminidase, and RNA- dependent RNA polymerase (Chamber et al., 1986; Alexander, 2008). Beard and Hanson (1984) classified Newcastle disease virus strains into highly virulent (Velogenic), intermediate virulent (Mesogenic) or avirulent (Lentogenic) based on their pathogenicity in chickens. Lentogenic strains produce mild or inapparent respiratory infections; the mesogenic strains produce low mortalities, acute respiratory disease and neurological signs in some birds while the velogenic strains which can be either neurotropic velogenic NDV (NVNDV) or viscerotropic velogenic NDV (VVNDV) cause disease with high mortality (Huang et al., 2004; Piacenta et al., 2006).  BIOLOGY PROJECT TOPICS PDF The known surface antigens are the haemagglutinin and neuraminidase (Nagai et al., 1976) and the fusion (F) protein. The first, haemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN), is important in the attachment and release of the virus from the host cells, in addition to its role in serologic identification (Beard and Hanson, 1984; OIE, 2008). The other, the fusion (F) protein, has a critical role in the pathogenesis of the disease (Beard and Hanson, 1984; OIE, 2008). ND may be employed as an antigen in a wide variety of serological tests, enabling neutralization or ELISA or HI tests to be used for diagnosis (Aiello et al., 2003)

According to FARD (2008), the poultry population of Nigeria is estimated to be 137.6 million, with backyard poultry population constituting 84% (115.8million) and exotic poultry 16% (21.7 million), with a higher percentage of this poultry raised for subsistence production. Ogundipe (1998) reported that close to 75% of Nigerian population live in rural areas where most households keep small number of local and village chickens which scanvage on free range and usually taken care of by women and children. Establishment of the disease status in Nsukka is therefore of great importance to avoid economic losses caused by the disease. BIOLOGY PROJECT TOPICS PDF

1.1.1  Statement of Problem

ND is rated as one of the greatest constraints to the development of rural poultry production in Nigeria and in most developing countries, causing serious threats (Shamaki et al., 1989; Oladele et al., 2003). In Africa and Asia, ND is a major constraint against the development of both industrial and village poultry production (Alders et al., 2001) Despite the numerous roles of village chickens in the life of the poor rural families such as provision of meat and eggs, food for special festivals, offerings for traditional ceremonies, pest control and petty cash for purchase of medicines and payment of school fees (Alders and Spradbrow, 2001), ND is responsible for high economic losses due to high mortality, morbidity, stress, decreased egg production and hatchability (Alexender, 2003). BIOLOGY PROJECT TOPICS PDF

1.1.2  Aim of the Research

To determine the prevalence of Newcastle disease virus in local chickens within Nsukka Area and its environs.

1.1.3  Objectives of the Research

  • To determine the seroprevalenec of Newcastle disease from four selected Local government Areas in Nsukka, including Udenu, Nsukka Central, Igbo-Eze North, and Igbo-Eze South Local Government Areas.
  • To determine age-specific prevalence of HI antibody titre in local chickens.
  • To determine whether it is necessary to vaccinate the local chickens against Newcastle disease.


1.2     Literature Review

1.2.1  Poultry

Poultry are birds domesticated by man and include chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, quails, ostriches, guinea fowl and certain other birds. They are kept by households as a source of protein (eggs and meat) and income to meet everyday family needs (Law and Payne, 1996). The economic significance of poultry varies significantly from country to country. In developing countries and sub-Saharan Africa, there is an increasing demand for livestock product for the ever growing and more affluent population (Delgado, 2003; Gulati et al., 2005). Chicken is the livestock most commonly owned by women and families in the developing world, and increasing their productivity will contribute significantly toward increasing their food security and livelihood of the rural families (Alders and Spradbrow, 2001a). BIOLOGY PROJECT TOPICS PDF

In an address at the World Food Day Ceremony in Rome, 2007, the Director General of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Jacques Diouf said “our planet produces enough food to feed its entire population. Yet, tonight, 854 million women, men and children will be going to sleep on an empty stomach”. This statement of Jacques Diouf is true especially for sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest prevalence of under nourishment, with one in three people deprived of access to sufficient food (FAO, 2006). Poultry production is generally acknowledged as the most efficient and cost-effective way of increasing the availability of high protein food (FAO, 1987) Eggs have long been presented as the standard reference food that is perfectly balanced, containing most essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Approximately 11.5% of daily protein requirement and 5% of daily energy requirement is provided by one egg (Branckaert et al., 2000). Poultry production as a socio-economic activity has been turned to a commercial entity from the mere subsistence form of agriculture (FAO, 2005). With the increasing population pressure challenging developing economies and the need to provide food security and meet the global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need for every country to build up their poultry production capacity cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, the growth of the livestock industries or enterprises in developing countries has been severely constrained by animal diseases (Perry and Sones, 2007). Poultry production systems, especially in developing countries, are faced with a myriad of challenges, key amongst which is disease. De Haan and Bekure (1991) reported an estimated annual loss of about US $2 billion in direct losses (mortality) and another US $2 billion in indirect losses (slow growth, lower productivity, increase morbidity and lower fertility, etc) in sub-Saharan Africa due to livestock diseases. The effect of these diseases is most severe in the developing economies where modern vaccines and medicaments, modern technologies for quick diagnosis and sound management practices are in short supply. Many of these developing economies are stacked with outdated service delivery systems that are incompatible with and do not meet the needs or requirement of their poor clients and are compounded by inadequate funding (Perry and Sones, 2007). In view of this, disease entities especially viral diseases have continued to pose a threat to the poultry industry despite efforts made at controlling them. Some of the viral diseases of poultry among others include Infectious Bursal disease (Gumboro), Egg Drop Syndrome (EDS), Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT), Mareks disease and Newcastle disease (ND).



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