Published Date: 2005-04-04 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> Undiagnosed illness, geese - China (Fujian)
Archive Number: 20050404.0975
UNDIAGNOSED ILLNESS, GEESE - CHINA (FUJIAN)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 4 Apr 2005
From: Dan Silver <email@example.com>
Source: Jianning County Animal Husbandry and Fishery Bureau Website,
February 2005 [translated from Chinese, edited]
[The following report, translated from the Chinese original, has been
kindly sent by Dan Silver. He adds that its contents might be relevant to
ProMED-mail's posting 20050311.0725 on Newcastle disease virus in geese in
An outbreak of goose disease in Jianning County of Fujian Province, China
Jianning County Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine Station Authors:
Tong Hongsheng, Ding Meixian, Xie Jinxian
Over the last few years, with restructuring of the rural economy, goose
breeding has become a short-cycle, high-return breeding activity that has
gained popularity in our county. However, local breeds of geese are
relatively uncommon and the supply of goslings inadequate. Large volumes of
goslings must be brought in from Jiangsu Province, Jiangxi Province, and
With frequent movement of geese, new goose diseases have continuously
arisen in recent years. Since November 2003, our county has experienced an
infectious goose disease characterized mainly by diarrhea, rapid death,
caseous scabbing, and necrosis causing serious economic damage to goose
production. Through an epidemiological survey, combined with clinical
symptoms, postmortem examination and laboratory analysis, the preliminary
diagnosis is suspected goose paramyxovirus illness. This is a report on
relevant observations in our country:
1) Circumstances of Illness
In November 2003, 700 geese fell ill at 3 goose breeding farms in Junkou
Village. From then on, this illness gradually spread. Out of a total of
4300 geese from 14 breeders, 2176 geese fell ill and 1715 of these died.
The incidence rate was 50.6 and the mortality rate was 78.8 percent. Within
about 3-7 days, the illness spreads throughout entire flocks, while sick
geese generally die within 1-3 days.
The incidence among goslings of younger age is relatively high, at its
highest reaching 80-90 percent. Among flocks of relatively older age, the
illness and death rate are relatively low.
In a goose breeding facility in Xikou Village, 7 chickens that lived among
geese developed similar symptoms and the entire group died. Post-mortem
findings were essentially consistent with those of the geese.
Our understanding is that affected goslings were brought in from other
provinces. Some were purchased by rural households after 15 days in
collective brooding. Others were raised by breeders themselves. At one day
old, the suppliers used gosling hyperimmune serum to vaccinate [The term
immunize should be used when referring to hyperimmune serum. - Mod.AS].
Some flocks were given an inactivated binary [bivalent?] paramyxovirus
goose vaccine (from a supplier in Jiangsu Province).
After illness, geese were treated with multiple antibiotics, antivirals [?]
and many types of traditional Chinese medicine. These were not clearly
2) Clinical symptoms
In the early stage, ill geese are listless, reduce food intake, stand about
or squat and lie. At grazing time, they often lag behind the others. Thirst
increases (this is especially obvious in caged flocks; liquid consumption
rises 3-5 fold). [Ill geese] excrete white loose stool, in later stages
excreting yellow-green or dark brown loose stool (a minority excrete
coagulated blood). Some ill geese stand unsteadily, lean forward, fall on
their sides, move slowly, roll, contort their necks and [display] other
3) Post-Mortem Exam
The spleens of dead geese were enlarged, cyanotic, and the surface and
sections were full of yellow-white necrotic spots the size of sesame seeds.
Livers were enlarged, cyanotic and had bruised or necrotic spots.
Pancreases were lightened in color and had punctiform and patchy necrosis.
The mucosa of the glandular stomachs had patchy or belt-shaped areas of
hemorrhage. The envelopes of the muscular stomach cuticles were easily
separated. Layers of the sarcoplasm had hemorrhage and ulcer. The
intestinal walls had become thin and a part of the intestines was
abnormally enlarged and protruding. On observation, bruising could be seen.
On dissecting the intestinal tract it was possible to see serious
exuviations [?] of the mucosa. In some, the surface of the mucosa of the
entire intestinal tract seemed as if covered in a layer of a yellow-white
bean dreg-like substance. From the duodenum to the rectum were irregularly
sized and numerous caseous scabs extending from the surface of the mucosa
in a granular or belt shape. Scabs, ulcers and bruising could be seen.
In some, similar encrustation and ulcerating lesions were seen in the lower
intestines. The caecal tonsils were turgescent [edematous?!] and
hemorrhaging. In some ill geese, engorgement [congestion?] of the brain was
observed. Other organs did not show obvious lesions.
4) Lab Analysis
Liver, spleen and cardiac smear were negative on gram stain microscopy.
Using asceptic technique, samples were transferred to an ordinary broth
medium and cultured at 37 degrees for 24 hours then plated in ordinary agar
for 24 hours. There was no bacterial growth. Because of resource
constraints, further lab investigation was not possible.
Epidemiology, disease circumstances, clinical symptoms, and post-mortem
exam show classic conformity with a characteristic intestinal diagnosis of
6) Conclusion and Discussion
According to reports, the source of goose paramyxovirus illness is goose
paramyxovirus. This disease was discovered in 1997 and became epidemic in
Zhejiang Province, Jiangsu Province, and other areas where goose breeding
is relatively common. In those places, the disease caused heavy losses to
geese production. In our province, there had not been a report of such an
The occurrence in our county of paramyxovirus since November of last year
(2003) may be due to the arrival of goslings from outside which had not
undergone strict quarantine and isolation.
From analysis of clinical data, [it seems that] the disease affects
mainly the age groups of 20-30-day-old goslings and mature geese older than
120 days. No disease has been observed in geese younger than 20 days. It is
possible that those goslings younger than 20 days have relatively high
levels of maternal antibody. It is relevant that some geese flocks received
injections of inactivated binary [bivalent?] paramyxovirus goose vaccine,
providing immune antibodies; and the antibody levels remained for 120 days
It is advised that goslings in the production system be vaccinated early,
at about 10 days of age. Those geese that are reared for relatively long
periods of time and those flocks that are kept indefinitely should be given
vaccine boosters at 100 days.
Upon occurrence of this illness, those with resources can try using
hyperimmune serum (or hyperimmune yolk) for treatment; proper isolation and
sterilization activities should be applied. At the same time, employ
compound vitamins, electrolytes, and antivirals etc. According to reports,
injections of type-I (1?) Newcastle disease vaccines at 5-10 times dose may
[The described clinical and pathological observations lead to serious
suspicion that pathogens such as avian influenza or Newcastle disease -- or
both -- might be involved.
Unfortunately, no virological diagnostic techniques have/could have been
applied during the investigations of the described syndrome in geese. This
should urgently be remedied. The report includes some unclear terminology,
especially regarding vaccines and treatment procedures. Any additional
information and clarifications and, particularly, results of further lab
investigations -- which, hopefully, will exclude avian influenza -- will be
Vaccination of geese against avian influenza has been widely implemented in
China during the recent outbreak; reportedly, the H5N1 inactivated vaccine
has proved immunogenic for ducks and geese. It may be assumed that geese
are vaccinated against Newcastle disease as well. Fujian province is
situated in southeast China, on the East China Sea and Taiwan Strait. - Mod.AS]