The California Department of Food and Agriculture are reporting more cases of virulent Newcastle disease (VND) in backyard birds in southern California. This brings the total to 43 confirmed cases since May in three counties–San Bernardino (40), Riverside (2) and Los Angeles (1).
vND has not been found in commercial poultry in the U.S. since 2003.
The cases have prompted a quarantine to be imposed in San Bernardino County and Riverside County.
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.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) want to remind bird owners about the need for biosecurity to help protect their birds from VND and other infectious diseases. These include simple steps like washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area; 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.