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News Release

Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force

Joint Information Center: END Media Desk, (714) 372-7738
Media Contact: Larry Cooper, (714) 372-7738

Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force
Release #03-019
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GARDEN GROVE, March 17, 2003 - The Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force has announced that a California state quarantine banning public exhibits of all poultry species has been expanded to the entire state of California. The action will result in a ban on sales of all poultry at swap meets, bird marts, feed stores, and other activity in which groups of birds are publicly displayed.

California State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer says the action is required to minimize the danger of exposing non-infected birds to the disease. Exposure can make other birds victims or carriers of the virus. This restriction includes the following poultry species: chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, partridges, pheasants, quail, guinea fowl, pea fowl, doves, pigeons, grouse, swans and ratites.

Until now, public exhibits of birds were banned only inside the existing quarantine zone in Southern California. Most fairs and exhibitions in the state have already agreed to stop bird exhibitions to help minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

The Exotic Newcastle Disease virus can spread to any susceptible bird. Poultry that are infected usually die quickly. The disease is transmitted when the virus is shed from an infected bird or another bird exposed to the virus. Birds can be exposed to the virus by direct contact with other exposed birds, by contaminated bedding, by humans who have been exposed to the virus, or by vehicles that have driven on a contaminated property.

The best defense against the disease includes minimizing the movement of birds, quarantining properties where birds have been infected, euthanizing all birds exposed, and sanitizing the infection site. The virus has been found to remain active in moist soil for many days.

Exotic Newcastle Disease poses no risk to human health. Poultry and egg products are safe to consume.

If you have questions or suspect your birds may have the disease, call the END hotline immediately at
1-800-491-1899. For more information about Exotic Newcastle Disease visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture web site at or

For more information:
Larry Cooper
(714) 372-7738


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