A countrywide cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the presence of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) in poultry in live bird markets (LBMs) and backyard poultry farms in Kenya. A total of nine hundred and twenty two (922) poultry in backyard flocks and four hundred and fifty four (454) poultry in LBMs were examined. Overall, NDV was detected in 10.1% (46/454) of the poultry sampled in live bird markets. In backyard flocks, NDV was detected in 3.6% (33/922) of the poultry sampled. Regional variations in NDV occurrence was observed in both live bird markets and poultry flocks. Markets in major towns and cities had significantly (p<0.05) higher NDV detection rates. Higher NDV detection rates were observed in backyard farms in Lake Victoria Basin than other regions. Chicken had the highest NDV detection compared to other poultry species. The study detected NDV in apparently healthy chicken and brought forward the probable high importance of carrier birds in the circulation and transmission of NDV and in causing outbreaks. The study also points to the usefulness of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in screening for NDV to prevent the outbreaks and control of ND in Kenya.
Key words: Backyard poultry, chicken, Kenya, live bird markets, NDV, RT-PCR.
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