Ranikhet Disease

Ranikhet disease, also known as Newcastle disease, is a highly contagious viral disease that affects a wide range of bird species, including domestic poultry and wild birds. The disease is caused by the avian paramyxovirus type 1 (APMV-1), a single-stranded RNA virus that belongs to the Paramyxoviridae family. The virus is named after its first occurrence in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1926, but it has since been reported in several countries worldwide.

The disease has a significant impact on the global poultry industry and poses a threat to food security. In this article, we will provide an in-depth analysis of Ranikhet disease, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and control, economic impact, prevention, and future prospects.

Causes of Ranikhet Disease

Introduction to the virus and its properties

APMV-1 is an enveloped virus that has a single-stranded RNA genome. It is highly mutable, and several genetic strains of the virus have been identified worldwide. These strains are classified into different genotypes based on the nucleotide sequences of the fusion (F) protein gene, which is responsible for virus entry into host cells.

Transmission of the virus

The virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct and indirect routes. Direct transmission occurs when infected birds shed the virus through their feces, saliva, nasal discharge, or respiratory secretions, and healthy birds come into contact with these fluids. Indirect transmission occurs when healthy birds come into contact with contaminated objects, such as feed, water, equipment, or clothing.

Host range and susceptibility

The virus has a broad host range and can infect more than 200 bird species, including domestic and wild birds. However, some species are more susceptible than others, and the severity of infection can vary depending on the species and age of the bird. Chickens and turkeys are highly susceptible to the virus and can experience severe disease, while ducks and geese are less susceptible and may show mild or no symptoms.

Symptoms of Ranikhet Disease

General symptoms

Clinical signs of Ranikhet disease can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the species of bird affected. Common clinical signs in birds include respiratory distress, diarrhea, nervous signs such as tremors, and a drop in egg production. In mammals, including humans, symptoms range from conjunctivitis to mild flu-like symptoms.

Severity of symptoms

The severity of symptoms can range from mild to severe, with mortality rates reaching up to 100% in some cases. In severe cases, birds may experience neurological signs such as paralysis, which can lead to death.

Diagnosis of Ranikhet Disease

Clinical diagnosis

Clinical diagnosis of Ranikhet disease can be challenging, as many of the symptoms are nonspecific and can be caused by other diseases. However, veterinarians can use their clinical knowledge and experience to identify the characteristic clinical signs of the disease.

Laboratory diagnosis

Laboratory diagnosis is essential for confirming the presence of the virus and identifying the strain of the virus. Several diagnostic tests are available, including hemagglutination inhibition (HI) test, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and molecular diagnostic tests.

  1. Hemagglutination inhibition test : The HI test is a serological test that detects antibodies against the virus in the blood of infected birds. The test measures the ability of the virus to agglutinate red blood cells and the ability of the antibodies to neutralize the virus.
  1. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay: The ELISA test detects the presence of the virus or antibodies against the virus in the blood or other tissues of infected birds. The test uses specific antibodies that bind to the virus or antibodies and produces a measurable signal.
  1. Molecular diagnostic tests : Molecular diagnostic tests, such as reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), detect the viral RNA in infected tissues. These tests are highly specific and sensitive and can identify the viral strain.

Treatment and Control of Ranikhet Disease

Treatment options

There is no specific treatment for Ranikhet disease, and treatment is primarily supportive. However, antiviral drugs, such as interferons, can be used to reduce the severity of the disease and increase the chances of survival. Symptomatic treatment, such as oxygen therapy and fluid therapy, can also be provided to affected birds.


Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent and control the disease. Several types of vaccines are available, including live attenuated vaccines and inactivated vaccines. Live attenuated vaccines are the most commonly used and provide long-lasting immunity.

  1. Types of vaccines : Live attenuated vaccines are made from weakened viruses that can replicate in the host and induce an immune response. Inactivated vaccines are made from killed viruses and require booster doses to maintain immunity.
  1. Administration of vaccines : Vaccines can be administered through different routes, including subcutaneous injection, intramuscular injection, or oral administration. The route of administration depends on the type of vaccine and the age of the bird.

Biosecurity measures

Biosecurity measures are essential for preventing the spread of the virus. These measures include strict sanitation practices, limiting the movement of birds, and preventing contact between infected and healthy birds.

Economic impact of Ranikhet Disease

Losses in the poultry industry

Ranikhet disease has a significant impact on the global poultry industry, leading to production losses, increased mortality rates, and decreased egg production. The economic losses can be particularly devastating in developing countries where poultry farming is a significant source of income and protein.

Measures to mitigate economic impact

To mitigate the economic impact of Ranikhet disease, several measures can be taken. These include early detection and diagnosis of the disease, prompt implementation of biosecurity measures, and vaccination of birds.


Ranikhet disease is a highly contagious viral disease that affects domestic and wild birds. The disease has a significant impact on the global poultry industry and can lead to severe economic losses. Vaccination and biosecurity measures are the most effective ways to prevent and control the disease. Early detection and diagnosis are crucial for implementing prompt control measures and mitigating the economic impact of the disease.