Characterization of pigeon paramyxoviruses (Newcastle disease virus) isolated in South Africa from 2001 to 2006
Pigeon paramyxovirus type 1 (PPMV-1), a variant of Newcastle disease virus that primarily affects doves and pigeons has been isolated in South Africa since the mid-1980s. Phylogenetic evidence indicates that pigeon paramyxovirus type 1 viruses were introduced into South Africa on multiple occasions, based on the presence of two separate lineages, 4bi and 4bii, that have been circulating in Europe and the Far East since the early 1990s. During 2006, a PPMV-1 virus was isolated from an African ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) which became acutely infected with PPMV-1 and died, probably after scavenging off infected dove carcasses in the region, since a closely-related PPMV-1 strain was also isolated from doves collected nearby. The hornbill isolate had ICPI and MDT values characteristic of PPMV-1 strains. The threat of PPMV-1 to poultry production and biodiversity in southern Africa highlights the importance of monitoring the spread of this strain.