Statewide quarantine lifted
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have announced an end to the Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) quarantine. Extensive testing of the regulated area has been completed, with no additional detections of the disease.
The state and federal quarantines originally encompassed 46,000 square miles, which included the following counties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego, Ventura, and a small southeastern corner of Kern County. On August 4, 2003, all but 7,300 square miles of the quarantine was released. This latest action lifts the regional quarantine in California and once again permits poultry exhibitions. However, CDFA retains the authority to monitor and test at poultry sale venues and exhibition venues in an effort to prevent the introduction of highly contagious poultry diseases such as END.
“We have eagerly anticipated this day and are extremely proud of the tireless work of the Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force,” said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “We relied on the expertise of CDFA veterinarians and other staff, as well as veterinarians from the USDA and from Baja California. We also greatly appreciate the contributions from other state, federal and local agencies, and the state of the art capabilities of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab at the University of California. Many government agencies and thousands of people contributed to an expeditious and successful conclusion of this program.”
The initial cases of Exotic Newcastle Disease were detected last fall. By winter, the disease had spread to commercial poultry operations in Southern California. In January, California Governor Gray Davis declared a state of emergency. The outbreak cost more than $160 million to fight and resulted in the depopulation of more than 3 million birds.
To guard against the risk of subsequent outbreaks, especially in the high-risk fall months, CDFA has activated an ongoing monitoring program. All backyard poultry owners and commercial operations are encouraged to practice biosecurity measures to help prevent the introduction of disease when people enter or depart the premises, to routinely check birds for signs of illness, and to report any incidence of suspected END or other bird diseases. More information is available at www.cdfa.ca.gov or through the END information line, 1-800-491-1899.
Editors’ Note- CDFA and USDA representatives will be available via conference call at 3 p.m. today to discuss the lifting of the quarantine. The number is 1-866-453-9084. The pass code is 340726.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814