Tuesday, 19 March 2019
USDA Reported

USDA Confirms Virulent Newcastle Disease in California

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed virulent Newcastle disease in a second commercial poultry flock in California. 

Health

The latest case is in a commercial layer flock in Riverside County.  This finding is part of an outbreak in southern California that began in May 2018 in backyard exhibition birds.

Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern.  No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eatinc poultry products.  Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.  In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild, and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment. 

APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to the finding, limit the disease’s spread in commercial poultry, and then eradicate it. Federal and State partners are conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area, and are working with nearby commercial farms to increase biosecurity to prevent additional disease spread.

It is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases.  These include simple steps like washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area; and cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off the property.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, 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.  Additional information on biosecurity for all poultry flocks can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock.  

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