Newcastle Disease in Luxembourg, December 1999 Impact Worksheet
Summary: Luxembourg has reported an outbreak of Newcastle disease in hobby pigeons and layer hens. France has also reported an isolated outbreak of Newcastle disease in pigeons. The U.S. considers both Luxembourg and France to be free of Exotic Newcastle disease. The U.S. imported no live poultry or other birds, poultry meat, or other poultry products from Luxembourg during calendar year 1998 and January through October 1999. The U.S. has annually imported almost 50,000 live birds, including pigeons, from Belgium. Direct human passenger traffic from Luxembourg to the U.S. is relatively light, however, Luxembourg passengers routinely depart from neighboring European Union countries such as Belgium. Movement of people and equipment is considered to be a significant factor in the spread of Newcastle disease during an outbreak. The limited nature of the current outbreak in Luxembourg, however, lessens the risk of human exposure to and subsequent transmission of the virus.
How extensive is the situation in the affected country, and what was the countrys disease status prior to the outbreak?
On 10 December 1999, Luxembourg reported to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) an outbreak of Newcastle Disease in hobby pigeons and layer hens. The causal agent was a velogenic strain of paramyxovirus. According to the report, 85 hobby pigeons and 15 layer hens were susceptible; 25 pigeons had died, and the other 75 susceptible birds were destroyed. Luxembourg estimated the date of the first infection to be 18 November 1999. Control measures have included stamping out, quarantine and movement control, and control of wildlife reservoirs. The United States lists Luxembourg as free of Exotic Newcastle Disease.
France, on 13 December, also reported an outbreak of Newcastle Disease in pigeons. The U.S. considers France to be free of Exotic Newcastle. Estimated date of first infection was 17 November 1999 on a pigeon farm in the Eure-et-Loir department about 200 miles from Luxembourg. The causal agent was avian paramyxovirus type 1, pigeon variant. Contamination by wild birds was cited as the source, resulting in five cases and destruction of 1,730 susceptible birds. France listed its control measures as stamping out, destruction of carcasses, tracing back and tracing forward, and vaccination. France reported its Newcastle disease-free status with OIE to be unaffected because the outbreak was confined to a pigeon farm remote from any poultry breeding area or marketing channels. In October 1998, France had reported an outbreak of Newcastle Disease in racing pigeons.
Source: OIE Disease Information Report, 17 December 1999; National Center for Import/Export
What is the countrys place in the international market for affected animals and animal products?
[Note: Poultry rade statistics are reported for Belgium and Luxembourg combined; separate data for Luxembourg were unavailable.] Belgium-Luxembourg are generally minor players in world poultry production and exports. Exceptions are exports of fat liver preparations (foie gras) for which Belgium-Luxembourg accounted for over 10 percent of worldwide exports in both 1997 and 1998.
Source: United Nations FAO
What is the countrys production in affected animals and animal products?
[Note: Poultry production statistics are reported for Belgium and Luxembourg combined; separate data for Luxembourg were unavailable.] In 1999, Belgium-Luxembourgs poultry stocks consisted of 38 million chickens, 300,000 turkeys, 35,000 ducks, and 10,000 geese. Approximately 180 million chickens and 2 million turkeys were slaughtered in 1999 yielding 260,000 metric tons of chicken meat and 11,000 metric tons of turkey meat. Belgium-Luxembourgs production of chicken and turkey meat represents less than 1 percent of worldwide production.
Belgium-Luxembourg have imported and exported live poultry. In 1998 (most recent data), Belgium-Luxembourg imported approximately 118 million chickens and exported 59 million. Belgium-Luxembourg also imported 344,000 turkeys and 2,000 ducks and exported over 1 million turkeys. Belgium-Luxembourgs imports of chickens represented nearly 16 percent of total worldwide imports, and the countries chicken exports represented nearly 10 percent of total worldwide live chicken exports. The sources of imported poultry could not be obtained but are likely to be other EU countries. Similarly, the destinations of exported live poultry could not be obtained but are probably other EU countries.
In 1998, Belgium-Luxembourg exported over 240,000 metric tons of chicken meat (4 percent of world exports); 205 metric tons of foie gras, or fat liver preparations (12 percent of world exports); 261 metric tons of duck meat (<1 percent of world exports); 114 metric tons of goose meat (<1 percent of world exports); 39,000 metric tons of turkey meat (5 percent of world exports); and 238 metric tons of pigeon/other bird meat (5 percent of world exports). Among the destinations for exported Belgium-Luxembourg poultry meat products are other EU countries including France and the Netherlands, and Russia.
Trade statistics for 1999, when available, will likely show considerably lower exports from Belgium-Luxembourg. Dioxin contamination of animal feed in Belgium and the subsequent mid-1999 bans on animal, poultry and product exports from Belgium are expected to have negatively affected exports.
Source: United Nations FAO, USDA FAS GAIN Reports
What are the U.S. imports of affected animals or animal products from the country?
No live poultry, poultry meat, or other poultry-related products were imported into the United States from Luxembourg in calendar year 1998 or January through October 1999.
Belgium is a principal source of live birds (non poultry) into the United States. Belgium exported 49,349 birds in 1998 and 42,826 birds to the U.S. from January through October 1999. Pigeons and other birds shipped from Belgium apparently enter various U.S. quarantine facilities including, but not limited to, the Newburgh Animal Import Center--which receives several thousand racing pigeons from Belgium annually--and the Veterinary Services San Ysidro, CA quarantine facility.
Very small quantities of poultry meat, egg yolks, and feathers were imported from Belgium in 1998. No such imports were reported during January through October 1999.
Source: World Trade Atlas, Dr. Hanson, NYAIC
What is the level of passenger traffic arriving in the United States from the affected country?
Passenger traffic from Luxembourg to the U.S. is relatively light, however, Luxembourg passengers routinely depart from neighboring European Union countries (for example, Belgium) for air travel to the U.S. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported 595 direct flights in 1997 from Luxembourg to the U.S. It is likely that additional passengers originating in Luxembourg entered the U.S. on non-direct flights. There were 3,846 direct flights from Belgium to the U.S., and these flights carried about 349,000 passengers in 1997.
Of 33 passengers from Luxembourg who were sampled at U.S. airports under the USDA, APHIS Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Monitoring Program in fiscal year 1998, zero were found to be carrying restricted animal or plant products. These results may indicate that a negligible amount of animal agricultural product is illegally entering the U.S. via airline passengers from Luxembourg.
Humans infected with the Newcastle virus can mechanically transmit the virus to live birds. The causal paramyxovirus is relatively stable outside the host, and movement of people and equipment is considered to be a significant factor in the mechanical spread of disease during an outbreak. Biological transmission from humans to birds is also possible but unlikely. Newcastle disease in humans has an incubation period of 1 to 2 days. The virus in an infected human may be present in ocular fluids from 4 to 7 days. Generalized infection in humans has been reported causing flu-like symptoms lasting 3 to 4 days.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Transportation; USDA,APHIS,PPQ - Agricultural Quarantine Inspections database; The Potential for International Travelers to Transmit Foreign Animal Diseases to US Livestock or Poultry, USDA, APHIS, VS, August 1998
CEI's plans for follow up on this outbreak:
CEI has no plans to provide more information unless the situation changes significantly. We will monitor whether the outbreaks spread in Luxembourg or France. If you seek more information or wish to comment on this worksheet, please reply to this message or contact David Cummings (970-490-7895) or Carol Tuszynski (970-490-7893).