Friday, July 20, 2018

California: 24 New Outbreaks of VND In Poultry Over Last 10 Days

CDFA Quarantine Order


Eleven days ago (July 9th) California's Department of Food & Agriculture issued an emergency quarantine order (see California: 11 New Outbreaks of VND In Poultry - Quarantine Ordered In 2 Counties) after 39 outbreaks of Virulent Newcastle Disease in backyard exhibition poultry had been reported in Southern California over the previous 7 weeks.
In the 10 days since that last report, 24 additional outbreaks (ttl=63) have been reported from 3 counties (San Bernardino, Riverside & Los Angeles) - an increase of 60% in less than two weeks. 
While the first outbreak (May 17th) was reported from Los Angeles County, since then all other cases had been reported from either San Bernardino or Riverside County.

Yesterday, that streak ended when the CDFA reported two new outbreaks in Los Angeles County.
July 19, 2018: Additional Cases of Virulent Newcastle Disease in Backyard Birds in Multiple Counties

Bird owners in Southern California are responding to outreach provided over the past several days related to virulent Newcastle disease (VND), and have reported sick birds. Samples from the flocks, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, confirms all findings.
Five additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease in backyard chickens in California have been confirmed- two in Los Angeles County, one in Riverside County, and two in San Bernardino County. For a list of cases visit the USDA website at:
The USDA's summary follows.

Virulent Newcastle Disease

Last Modified: Jul 19, 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 62 cases of vND in backyard birds in California, 54 in San Bernardino County, 5 in Riverside County and 3 in Los Angeles County:
        (Continue . . . .)

As mentioned above, there is a slight risk of human infection, but 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.
From the recently updated USDA Fact sheet on VND:

Know the Signs of Virulent Newcastle Disease
If you see any of the following signs in your birds, they could be sick and should be checked out:
  • Sudden death and increased death loss in flock;
  • Sneezing, gasping for air, nasal discharge, coughing;
  • Greenish, watery diarrhea;
  • Decreased activity, tremors, drooping wings, twisting of head and neck, circling,complete stiffness; and
  • Swelling around the eyes and neck.
Report Sick Birds ASAP
If your birds are sick or dying, report it right away! Early detection and testing of possible cases of virulent Newcastle disease is critical to preventing a large-scale outbreak.
Contact your agricultural extension office/agent, local veterinarian, local animal health diagnostic laboratory, or the State veterinarian. Or, call USDA toll free at 1-866-536-7593, and we’ll put you in touch with a local contact. There’s no charge for a disease investigation.
How Virulent Newcastle Disease Spreads
Virulent Newcastle disease spreads when healthy birds come in direct contact with bodily fluids from sick birds. The disease affects almost all birds and poultry, even vaccinated poultry. The virus can travel on manure, egg flats, crates, other farming materials or equipment, and people who have picked up the virus on their clothing, shoes, or hands.

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