The effect of artificial air-ionization on air-borne transmission of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) infection in chickens was studied in an isolated system consisting of two side-by-side cages with solid walls and a wire-gauze roof. During a 3-week observation period more than 90% of the uninoculated indicator chickens, housed in one of the cages, contracted the virus shed to the air by the NDV-inoculated, diseased birds in the neighbouring cage. This air-borne transmission of NDV was completely prevented by increasing the ion concentration in the test room by a constant negative corona discharge above the wire-gauze roof. On the other hand, spreading of the infection within a group of chickens housed in a single cage was not affected by air ionization.
These and other results suggest that artificial air-ionization may protect animals from certain air-borne infections by interfering with microbial aerosol formation and/or by facilitating their decay.