Virulent Newcastle Disease

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Virulent Newcastle Disease Alert


Maps

Time Lapse of 2018-20 Southern California VND Detections and Dangerous Contacts

Time Lapse of 2018-19 Southern California VND Detections and Dangerous Contacts

Secure Food Supply (SFS) Plans

Commercial producers are encouraged to enforce biosecurity plans and develop Secure Food Supply (SFS) Plans, which are designed to provide business continuity in the face of a foreign animal disease outbreak.


Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND)

Virulent Newcastle disease (VND), formerly known as Exotic Newcastle Disease, is a serious, highly contagious viral disease that can affect poultry and other birds. In rare cases, humans that have exposure to infected birds may get eye inflammation or mild fever-like symptoms. These signs generally resolve without treatment, however, medical care should be sought if symptoms persist. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment. Virulent Newcastle disease 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.

The virus is found in respiratory discharges and feces and may cause high rates of sickness and death in susceptible birds. For poultry, chickens are most susceptible and ducks and geese are the least susceptible. Mortality rates for Psittacine birds (parrots) can range from zero up to 75%. Certain parrots, especially Amazon parrots, can shed VND virus intermittently in excess of one year. Other birds may be infected, but may not show any symptoms and may still be able to spread the disease. Once VND is introduced into domestic avian populations, subsequent spread is normally caused by domestic bird-to-bird contact or through contact with contaminated people, feed or equipment. Other types of Newcastle disease known as lentogenic and mesogenic are less virulent and may cause mild symptoms or none at all.

There is no effective cure for virulent Newcastle Disease. It is important that all commercial and non-commercial poultry owners maintain effective barriers to mitigate the risk of VND.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

May 22, 2020: CDFA/USDA continues to make significant progress towards eradicating virulent Newcastle disease, completing freedom of disease testing, and are on track to release the regional quarantine in the first half of June. An update will be posted on here when the regional quarantine is officially released.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

April 1, 2020: During the COVID-19 crisis one item subject to shortages has been eggs. As a result, chicken keepers in the VND quarantine zone have asked if they can move eggs off their properties in order to share them with others.

The current quarantine order prohibits the movement of eggs without permission from CDFA because moving eggs from an infected flock to a home with an uninfected flock will start the outbreak all over again. No one wants that! However, there are some simple precautions that can be taken to allow this movement, particularly at a time when eggs are in such high demand.

The essential first step is to receive permission. People interested in moving eggs must contact SFSPermits@cdfa.ca.gov to receive a permit. Any unpermitted movement is a violation of the quarantine.

After receiving permission, it is vital to ensure the flock producing the eggs is healthy and is not a silent carrier of the virus. If the flock has been consistently protected by the use of biosecurity and no new chickens have been added without a CDFA permit since 2019, the risk of infection is low. Further, if the person taking the eggs does not have chickens and is not in contact with chickens, the risk of spread is close to zero.

Additionally, the eggs must be cleaned and sanitized before leaving the premises, and egg suppliers should not accept used egg crates back unless they are non-porous and cleaned and sanitized ahead of time.

I encourage you to review our website for detailed biosecurity information, but some basics include: Do not allow visitors to the area where you keep your birds, use dedicated clothes and footwear when interacting with your birds and keep rodents away from your birds and out of their feed. Our outbreak statistics show that you need to be extra cautious if you have more than 20 birds, greater than 50% roosters in your flock, or if you’re in a high-risk area.

Remember, eggs are a valuable source of nutrition and those that produce eggs have a responsibility to ensure they are safe to eat by following egg safety guidance. Also, please be aware that in order to sell or market eggs, you must register as an Egg Handler with the CDFA Egg Safety and Quality Management Program. More information about egg safety and registration can be found at: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/AHFSS/mpes/esqm.html.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

February 20, 2020: This week brings some good news and, unfortunately, some disappointing news, as well. First, the good news - poultry farms continue to make significant biosecurity investments and our weekly testing has demonstrated that they remain free from VND. More disappointing, however, is a detection of VND through our mandatory testing program. After almost 6 weeks with no cases, we found the virus in two additional backyard flocks in the Bloomington-area. Both flocks were showing signs of disease and laboratory results suggest that the disease may have been in at least one of the flocks for some time.

The owners did not call to report disease and it is possible that some birds were moved off of at least one of the properties before our arrival. It's important to remember that this virus is highly contagious and lethal, so it always eventually shows up - the delay in contacting us simply leads to a bigger problem.

Moving exposed birds results in one thing: more flocks becoming infected. While the VAST majority of poultry owners in Southern California have taken the time to understand this disease and have made great sacrifices for the good of all Southern California poultry, a few continue to perpetuate this outbreak.

Please observe the following:

  • Do not move your birds.
  • Do NOT allow new poultry onto your property without a permit – it isn’t worth the risk.
  • Call us if you are worried that your poultry may be sick or exposed.
  • Continue practicing good biosecurity and protect your flock.

In the days and weeks ahead we will evaluate these recent detections and determine what they may mean for the entire VND quarantine area.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

January 29, 2020: Many southern California residents may be wondering why their local feed and pet stores do not have chicks for sale this spring. While virus levels in the region are greatly reduced, VND continues to impact backyard flocks inside the regional quarantine area, as evidenced by the detection of more than 20 new cases this winter. DNA from these recent cases suggests they are all related, most likely from a single source with further spread due to bird movement, lax biosecurity, and commingling at feed and pet stores.

Feed and pet stores provide a critical infrastructure for bird owners. Not only are they a source of feed, equipment and birds, they are also a gathering place for like-minded people where information and experiences can be shared. Unfortunately, this foot traffic also means that some customers may be carrying the virus on their shoes or clothing. When a store with this type of foot traffic also houses poultry, it gives the virus a chance to find a new host and become even more infectious. Keeping poultry, including baby chicks, out of these important community businesses will help the region become VND free.

The best defense against the virus is to continue practicing good biosecurity.

  • DO NOT MOVE YOUR BIRDS
  • Disinfect and change shoes and clothes before and after handling your birds
  • Do not wear clothes and shoes used with your flock to places with poultry or other bird owners
  • Wash hands thoroughly
  • Do not handle birds while at feed or pet stores
  • Disinfect anything purchased at the store before introducing it to your flock (feeders, waters, etc.)

Be aware of the signs of VND in your flock and report any sick birds to the CDFA Sick Bird Hotline (1-866-922-2473) right away.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

December 23, 2019: Over the past month, Virulent Newcastle disease cases have increased because people have violated the CDFA VND Regional Quarantine by moving infected birds or contaminated equipment and secondary spread to neighboring flocks. We now have 20 new cases under investigation, all linked to the recent Bloomington area outbreak. Most of the cases are in San Bernardino County, with two in Riverside County and one in Los Angeles County. Backyard flocks as well as retail pet/feed stores are involved.

Based on phylogenetic analysis and epidemiologic studies, we understand how the disease spreads in Southern California. This highly contagious virus has been spread when people move exposed birds or equipment, or when people carry the virus to their own unfortunate flock on their hands and feet. It moves long distances as people illegally move birds or equipment. When introduced to a new area, it is amplified as the previously uninfected poultry succumb until the environmental virus load is so great, the outbreak spreads from yard to yard. Exposed poultry around a newly infected flock are the “virus amplifiers,” particularly just before they show signs of disease.

Put simply, your birds can spread the disease before they show symptoms, so the only way to stop it is to not move birds – period – if you are in the CDFA Regional Quarantine Area.

As a reminder, last year the disease was spread from San Bernardino to LA and Riverside counties and beyond, leading to widespread highly infected areas, infected poultry farms, the death of over 1.2 million birds, and significant financial and emotional strain on poultry owners and disease control agencies.

We need your help to stop the spread of this virus and end this outbreak. Specific actions you can take to protect the poultry in your community are on the CDFA VND website in our biosecurity videos, guidance documents and links, but general keys to success include:

  • DO NOT move poultry or poultry equipment within the VND Regional Quarantine without a CDFA permit.
  • DO NOT let anyone with birds near your poultry.
  • DO NOT accidentally bring this virus home to your flock on your clothes, hands, feet or equipment.

Please work together to ensure we do not see this outbreak grow as it did in 2018. Stopping the spread will take the combined effort of all bird owners. Talk to your neighbors and friends. Keep Southern California safe for poultry!

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

December 9, 2019: In November and December of 2019, CDFA and USDA have detected a total of 6 new confirmed cases of virulent Newcastle disease in backyard poultry and at a retail feed store in western San Bernardino County. Information gathered so far indicates that these cases are linked, but we are still working to find additional connections and potentially more cases.

As a result of these findings, we have euthanized poultry on confirmed infected and exposed properties in the Bloomington-area and have intensified testing in the neighborhoods surrounding the infected flocks.

In an effort to minimize the impact of this new pocket of disease on the entire area, our epidemiologists continue to explore multiple disease response strategies with an eye towards preventing a major outbreak from reoccurring.

All strategies currently under consideration will involve more testing in areas we have already tested at least once, including in Los Angeles and Riverside counties. While these recent cases are in San Bernardino County and our last positive cases in Los Angeles and Riverside counties were in May 2019 and September 2019, significant historical evidence shows that infected birds are moved frequently between these counties, so as long as we have remaining pockets of disease, a substantial risk of spread exists.

We are hoping that we can keep moving toward eradication and freedom from disease. Success depends on community efforts. Stay vigilant, report sick birds, and take actions to protect your birds and your community’s birds from disease. Do not move birds and do not allow new poultry on your property.

While the vast majority of people in affected communities have made the commitment and sacrifice needed to stop this outbreak, some have ignored our quarantine and even encouraged others to ignore the quarantine. We all need to work together so we can eliminate this virus entirely from California and return to an environment that supports healthy backyard birds and poultry farms.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

November 19, 2019: A new detection of virulent Newcastle Disease was identified on November 18, 2019 at a retail feed and pet store in western San Bernardino County. The store is linked to the two recently confirmed positive premises in western San Bernardino County. This new premises is approximately 1 km outside the boundary of the current control area and control area expansion is being reviewed.

VND response team members from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to establish control measures including mandatory euthanasia of infected and exposed birds and surveillance testing near the retail feed and pet store where infection was detected. We are moving quickly to investigate the origin of disease.

Detections of VND have decreased greatly over the last few months. Our priority remains to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease. We have made significant progress toward this goal by identifying and clearing remaining pockets of disease, but this case reminds all bird owners in Southern California to remain aware of VND signs, practice good biosecurity, stop illegal movement of birds from property to property, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline, 866-922-2473. More information about VND, including biosecurity guidelines to keep birds healthy, is available on the CDFA virulent Newcastle disease web page.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

November 15, 2019: There were new detections of virulent Newcastle disease (VND) on November 14 at two neighboring residential properties in western San Bernardino County. These are the first detections of VND in Southern California since September 4. These cases were identified when a bird owner at one of the properties contacted a veterinarian.

VND response team members from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to establish control measures including mandatory euthanasia of infected and exposed birds and surveillance testing near the property where infection was detected. We are moving quickly to investigate the origin of disease.

Detections of VND have decreased greatly over the last few months. Our priority remains to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease. We have made significant progress toward this goal by identifying and clearing remaining pockets of disease, but this case reminds all bird owners in Southern California to remain aware of VND signs, practice good biosecurity, stop illegal movement of birds from property to property, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline, 866-922-2473. More information about VND, including biosecurity guidelines to keep birds healthy, is available on the CDFA virulent Newcastle disease web page.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update: Transition to Freedom of Disease Phase

October 22, 2019: The CDFA/USDA VND response team has started the “Freedom of Disease” phase in which we continue surveillance and testing of birds to detect and quickly eradicate any small pockets of infection (if present). There have been no new positive detections of VND since early September, but the Regional Quarantine is still in place at this time.

A sufficient number of negative VND tests from the community will help meet international standards to demonstrate freedom from VND and allow the regional quarantine to be lifted. This phase will take place over the next few months, bearing in mind that if any positives are found, it would potentially create a setback to this process. We are sincerely grateful for the continued cooperation and support from the community.

Saddle Ridge Fire Animal Evacuations (vND)

October 11, 2019: Saving human and animal life in the face of natural disasters like fires is always a priority. In the event of an emergency, mandatory evacuation orders have priority over VND quarantine requirements prohibiting bird movement. Ideally, any evacuations that include poultry within the CDFA VND Regional Quarantine Area should be done in a way that minimizes disease threat to other birds, in addition to the birds that are being moved. If possible, poultry should be moved to a location that does not house any other poultry, and is within the regional quarantine area. If that is not possible, steps should be taken to minimize risk by:

  1. Isolating the evacuated poultry from the resident poultry (or other groups of poultry)
  2. Keeping all poultry confined (no free roaming poultry, and minimize exposure to wild birds, rodents, and other pets)
  3. Practice biosecurity when caring for and handling the birds (dedicated clothing and footwear, wash hands after handling, and dedicated equipment for each set or group of poultry). For more biosecurity tips visit: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/animal_health/BioSpecies/BioPoultry.html

This separation is important for protecting them from all poultry diseases, not only during the VND outbreak.

It will be critical to monitor their health carefully for 30 days and report illness or death loss to a veterinarian, the CDFA Sick Bird phone line 1-866-922-BIRD (2473), or contact the CAHFS San Bernardino Diagnostic Laboratory (if in Southern California) Phone: (909) 383-4287.

Thank you very much for your attention in this matter.

BIRD MOVEMENT FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA VIRULENT NEWCASTLE DISEASE QUARANTINE AREA LED TO RECENT SAN DIEGO COUNTY DETECTION

Message to Bird Owners in Quarantined Areas: Do Not Move Your Birds

Statement from California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

September 6, 2019: An ongoing investigation has determined that infected birds moved from within the virulent Newcastle disease (VND) quarantine area in Riverside County led to the recent detection of the disease in the Ramona-area of San Diego County. This bird movement occurred in violation of the quarantine. It is important to note that any bird movement within a quarantined area is prohibited by law and violators are subject to fines ranging from $100 to $1,000, or up to $25,000 if a violator is proven to have moved the virus.

While we continue our surveillance and testing in the Ramona-area, we are hopeful that the rapid actions of responsible poultry owners and the CDFA/USDA VND response team have effectively contained the virus to a small area. Bird owners under quarantine are not permitted to move their birds, because exposed birds may appear healthy but could be in the early stages of infection and highly contagious to other birds. We are counting on community cooperation to help us stop the spread of VND and eradicate the disease.

It is critically important that bird owners under quarantine understand that moving birds, especially those that carry and shed the virus, put others at significant risk.

Mandatory euthanasia of infected and exposed poultry in connection with this incident has occurred at properties in San Diego and Riverside counties. The VND response team is conducting mandatory testing in the immediate areas surrounding the new cases, as well as conducting ongoing surveillance and testing within the quarantined areas in Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

Detections of VND have decreased greatly over the last few months as response teams continue their work to detect any small pockets of infection, stop the spread of the virus, and eradicate the disease.

Bird owners in Southern California are urged to remain aware of VND signs, practice good biosecurity, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline 866-922-2473.

More information about VND and biosecurity guidelines to keep birds healthy are available on the CDFA virulent Newcastle disease web and Facebook pages.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

August 31, 2019: There was a new detection of virulent Newcastle disease (VND) on August 30 at a property in central San Diego County. This is the first detection of VND in San Diego County since this incident began in May 2018. This case was identified when a private veterinarian submitted dead birds to the California Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratory System.

VND response team members from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working through the holiday weekend to establish control measures including restriction of bird movement, mandatory euthanasia of infected and exposed birds, and surveillance testing near the property where infection was detected. We are moving quickly to investigate the origin of disease as well as any movement of birds or equipment that could carry infection.

Detections of VND have decreased greatly over the last few months. Our priority remains to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease. We have made significant progress toward this goal by identifying and clearing remaining pockets of disease, but this case reminds all bird owners in Southern California to remain aware of VND signs, practice good biosecurity, stop illegal movement of birds from property to property, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline, 866-922-2473. More information about VND, including biosecurity guidelines to keep birds healthy, is available on the CDFA virulent Newcastle disease web page.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update from State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones

August 15, 2019: Ongoing surveillance and testing in the virulent Newcastle disease (VND) incident in Southern California has resulted in the detection of a new case on August 14 at a retail feed store in western San Bernardino County.

This is the first detection of VND since June 4. Staff members from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered the infected birds during a routine biosecurity check. Infected and exposed birds have been euthanized and the store has been temporarily closed while an investigation is under way.

We are moving quickly to determine the origin of disease and working with the store to identify any customers who may have purchased infected birds and products like feed, equipment, or anything else that could carry infection. Our priority is to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease, and while we’ve made significant progress, this case is instructive for all bird owners in Southern California to remain aware of VND signs, practice good biosecurity, don’t move birds, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline 866-922-2473.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Detected in Arizona

April 5, 2019: Virulent Newcastle disease (vND) was confirmed in a small flock of pet chickens in Coconino County, Arizona. This is the first case of vND in Arizona. More information here.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Confirmed in Northern California

March 15, 2019: One chicken, submitted to a veterinary office in Redwood City, by a backyard bird owner that lived in Alameda County, has been confirmed positive for VND and has been euthanized. At this moment, CDFA and USDA are not aware of any other cases in Northern California, but are very actively investigating.

Virulent Newcastle Disease Update: Quarantine Boundaries Modified in Southern California

SACRAMENTO, February 27, 2019 — California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones today modified Southern California's quarantine area to further restrict bird movement as work continues to eradicate virulent Newcastle disease (VND). The quarantine mandates the reporting of sick birds and prohibits poultry owners from moving birds in all of Los Angeles County, and in large areas of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The modified quarantine extends from the northern and southern borders of western Riverside County to the Salton Sea-including the Coachella Valley-and as far east as Yucca Valley in San Bernardino County, with a northern boundary of State Route 58 at the Kern County line. The quarantine language and a map may be found at CDFA's VND Web site. The quarantine requires bird owners to allow diagnostic testing, to isolate poultry from other species, to cease exhibitions, to stop the shipping and receiving of birds, and to enhance biosecurity.

"By modifying the quarantine area in Southern California, we are building upon an ongoing effort to eradicate virulent Newcastle disease," said Dr. Jones. "The primary way that VND spreads is by people moving sick birds. Extending the prohibition of bird movement across a larger area is the next logical step in being able to stop the spread of the virus and to eradicate the disease."

VND is a nearly-always fatal respiratory infection in poultry. Birds may seem healthy but will die within days of being infected. There is no cure. The virus is also transmitted by people who have VND on their clothes or shoes, and by equipment or vehicles that can transport the disease from place to place.

There are no human health concerns provided that any meat or eggs are cooked properly. People who come in direct contact with the virus may develop conjunctivitis-like symptoms or run a mild fever.

The only way to stop the virus and eradicate the disease is to euthanize birds. This includes all infected birds as well as birds within heavily-infected areas.

Since May 2018, staff from the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been working in joint incident command to eradicate VND in Southern California. The highly contagious virus has resulted, or will soon result, in the euthanasia of more than one million birds in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties.

Birds from four poultry industry producers in Riverside County and two poultry industry producer in San Bernardino County have also been infected with VND and all birds in those facilities have been or will be euthanized.

For more information about movement restrictions, biosecurity, and testing requirements, please call the Sick Bird Hotline (866) 922-2473 or email SFSPermits@cdfa.ca.gov

Regional Quarantine Map

February 4, 2019: Two additional ranches with egg laying hens have been confirmed positive for vND. The first is a small ranch in San Bernardino County that was confirmed on January 22, 2019. The hens have been euthanized. The second is a larger commercial facility in Riverside County that was confirmed positive on February 1, 2019.

The 2002-03 END outbreak, originally confirmed in backyard poultry in Southern California, spread to commercial poultry operations in California and backyard poultry in Arizona, Nevada and Texas. The Governor of California declared a State of Emergency, the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared an Extraordinary Emergency, and local emergencies were declared in San Diego, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties. A USDA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Task Force was formed that involved over 7,000 individuals rotating in and out over the course of the outbreak. Trade restrictions resulting from the disease had negative impacts on California and U.S. poultry and egg producers. The outbreak, from discovery to eradication, lasted eleven months. The outbreak response led to the depopulation of 3.16 million birds at a cost of $161 million.

Outbreaks of END severely affect the poultry industry. In 1971, a major outbreak occurred in commercial poultry flocks in Southern California. In all, 1,341 infected flocks were identified and almost 12 million birds were destroyed. The eradication program cost taxpayers $56 million, severely disrupted the operations of many producers and increased the prices of poultry and poultry products to consumers.