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IMMEDIATE UPDATE: USDA Confirms Additional Cases of Virulent Newcastle Disease in Backyard Birds in California

  |   Animal Health

May 30, 2018
From: Washington State Department of Agriculture

Virulent Newcastle Disease (vND), formerly known as Exotic Newcastle Disease is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs.

vND is not a food safety concern.  No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products.  Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.  In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected with mild symptoms.

vND has not been found in commercial poultry in the U.S. since 2003.

Since May 18, USDA has confirmed several cases of vND in backyard birds in California:

Date Confirmed State County Types of Birds
May 17, 2018 California Los Angeles County Backyard exhibition chickens
May 24, 2018 California San Bernardino County Backyard mixed species birds
May 26, 2018 California San Bernardino County Backyard chickens
May 26, 2018 California San Bernardino County Backyard chickens
May 26, 2018 California San Bernardino County Backyard chickens
May 26, 2018 California San Bernardino County Backyard chickens

How You Can Help

It is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases.  These simple steps include:

    • Washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering an area with birds;
    • Cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off the property; and
    • Isolating any birds returning from shows for 30 days before placing them with the rest of the flock.

All bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

By Dr. Lyndon Badcoe, Washington State Department of Agriculture, can be reached at [email protected].