Three weeks ago, in APHIS: USDA Confirms Virulent Newcastle Disease In Backyard Flock - California, we looked at the initial reports of the first Newcastle Disease outbreak in poultry in the United States since 2003.
Although humans can be infected, illness is generally mild, and usually presents as conjunctivitis. The real threat is to the poultry industry, should the virus find its way again into commercial flocks.According to the California Dept. of Food & Agriculture, the last outbreak in 2003 led to the depopulation of 3.16 million birds at a cost of $161 million. Prior to that, in 1971, an outbreak in Southern California led the culling of 12 million birds.
In the three weeks since the first report, a dozen additional backyard flocks have been identified as being infected with the virus (see chart below).
Virulent Newcastle Disease
Last Modified: Jun 6, 2018
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.
vND has not been found in commercial poultry in the U.S. since 2003.
Since May 18, USDA has confirmed several cases of vND in backyard birds in California:
How You Can Help
It is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases. These simple steps include:
- Washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering an area with birds;
- 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.
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.
For more on biosecurity for the raising of backyard poultry, the USDA offers:
Biosecurity for Birds
Last Modified: May 14, 2018
Know the Signs of Disease and How to Report Suspected Illness
Campaign Resources and Materials
Biosecurity and Wild Birds
Biosecurity for Pet Birds
Biosecurity Explained – 6 Simple Steps
Raising backyard poultry is a growing trend across the United States. It is very important for all backyard poultry owners to know the signs of two deadly poultry diseases, as well as the basic “biosecurity” steps you can take to protect your birds. APHIS runs the Biosecurity for Birds campaign to help raise awareness among backyard, hobby and pet bird owners.
Biosecurity is the key to keeping your poultry healthy. "Bio" refers to life, and "security" indicates protection. By following good biosecurity practices, you can reduce the chances of an infectious disease being carried to your farm, your backyard, your aviary, or your pet birds, by people, animals, equipment, or vehicles, either accidentally or on purpose.
- Using common sense practices to protect your poultry and birds from all types of disease agents - viruses, bacteria, funguses, or parasites
- Doing everything possible to protect your birds from infectious diseases like exotic Newcastle disease (END) and avian influenza (AI) and
- Preventing disease-causing germs from entering your premises.
By following good biosecurity, you decrease the risk of END and AI on poultry farms; loss of export markets, public concern, and cancellation of poultry shows, auctions, fairs, and exhibits as a result of disease outbreaks; and quarantines resulting in financial losses due to disease outbreaks.(Continue . . . )