Tuesday, July 10, 2018

California: 11 New Outbreaks of VND In Poultry - Quarantine Ordered In 2 Counties

Quarantine Orders For San Bernardino and Riverside Counties


Since our last update on July 2nd (see California Reports 10 More Outbreaks Of Virulent Newcastle Disease In Poultry), California's Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has reported 11 more outbreaks of Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) in San Bernardino and Riverside County.

The CDFA describes Virulent Newcastle Disease as:

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.

Since May 17th, Southern California has reported at least 39 outbreaks of Virulent Newcastle Disease in backyard exhibition poultry, 37 of which have come from San Bernardino County.  One case hailed from Los Angeles, while last week, another from Riverside county.
With the pace of outbreaks increasing, and some signs of geographic spread beyond San Bernardino County, yesterday the CDFA ordered an emergency poultry quarantine for specific areas of two counties in Southern California.
The operative part of the order reads:
Required Action: Pursuant to California Food and Agricultural Code Section 9562 and Title 3, California Code of Regulations, Section 1301 et seq., require the following:

Hold the population of animals and animal products described above on the premises where it is now located.
Segregate and Isolate the population of animals and animal products described above from other animals or products no later than: 5:00 PM on July 10, 2018.
  • The method of isolation shall be confinement to one premises in a pen, cage or other means that prevents poultry from moving off the premises.
  • No poultry or hatching eggs shall be moved onto the premises and no poultry, poultry products, used poultry equipment or other items that could spread disease due to contact with poultry or poultry manure shall be moved off the premises until this quarantine is rescinded or revised; or unless the owner has signed a compliance agreement with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and such movement is made using a CDFA or United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) movement permit.
  • All owners shall immediately report any clinical signs suggestive of VND (described on CDFA website at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Animal_Health/newcastle_disease_info.html) and any unexpected decreases in egg production or increase in mortality (above expected rate for strain and age) by phone to the sick bird hot line at (866) 922-2473 or California State Veterinarian at (916) 900-5000.
Euthanize and Dispose of the population of poultry that cannot be isolated as described above. 
Due to the high risk of exposure to VND in the above designated disease control areas, CDFA or USDA will assist with euthanasia if poultry are free roaming and not isolated as described by 5:00 PM on July 11, 2018.

Although there is a slight risk of human infection, 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 commercial poultry back 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.
This current outbreak is the first reported in poultry in the United States in 15 years, although detections in wild birds have occurred (cite). So far no commercial poultry operations have been affected.
You can view an updated list of cases at the USDA website:
By implementing this quarantine, the hope is a repeat of the devastating VND outbreak of 2003 - which lasted 11 months and spread into neighboring Nevada and Arizona (see CIDRAP's 2003 report Exotic Newcastle disease spreads out of California) - can be avoided.

Stay tuned.

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