An infectious disease of poultry (mainly of chickens and turkeys) and pigeons. Other domestic poultry and various species of wild birds may be affected, also man, though in man it usually appears as simply a very mild form of conjunctivitis. Symptoms in poultry include: marked drop in egg yield, somnolence, later paralysis, gasping inhalation, mucous discharge, diarrhoea, nervous twitching. High mortality rate, may be as much as 100% among young birds.
Fowlpest was first recorded near Newcastle (UK) in 1926, by Doyle who distinguished it from fowl plague, which it resembles. First recorded in 1945 in USA in the states of New Jersey and New York also occurred in California in the 1970s.
Has caused, and continues to cause, very heavy losses to the poultry industries of many countries. Generally high worldwide incidence, persisting wherever poultry are kept and particularly virulent where broiler techniques and close housing are used. Virus does not exist easily outside the living bird, but it is particularly hardy at low temperatures and can exist in frozen birds for more than 2 years. People, dogs and cats as well as certain wild birds may be unrecognized carriers of the disease, since they show little or no evidence of it. Symptoms can be confused with fowl plague, fowl cholera, fowl pox.