Sporadic outbreaks of Newcastle disease (ND) occurred in Taiwan during 1998–2000. In some cases, the disease occurred in broilers less than 2 wk old that originated in a broiler breeder farm, so spread of the ND virus (NDV) from the infected breeder farm to broiler ranches was suspected. The purpose of the present study was to examine the possibility of the transmission of NDV through eggs. Both clinical and experimental evidence were used to prove that this is possible. From epidemiological investigation, the possibility of transmission through eggs was suggested in two separate ND cases from a breeder farm and its progeny because two identical NDVs were isolated from both cases. In order to clarify the possibility of the transmission through eggs, one mean egg lethal dose (ELD50) of NDV was inoculated into the allantoic cavity of 155 9-to-11-day-old specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chicken embryos. Seventy-one hatching chicks from the inoculated embryos were raised for 14 days. The cloacal swabs from those chicks at the ages of 1, 4, and 7 days and the tissues after necropsy at the ages of 14 days were taken for virus isolation. The same NDV was reisolated from three hatching chicks. This experiment confirms that a few chicken embryos infected in ovo with a low titer of NDV can hatch and contain NDV after hatching, which results in NDV spreading through eggs.
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