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Chicken with Newcastle USDA APHIS
A chicken with Newcastle. Notice the swelling and purple discoloration of the comb, wattles and eyelids.

Virulent Newcastle confirmed in second commercial flock in California

Updated: USDA confirmed virulent Newcastle disease in a third commercial poultry flock in California on Jan. 10, 2019.

Updated: 10:33 a.m. Jan. 11, 2019

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed virulent Newcastle disease in a third commercial poultry flock in California on Jan. 10, 2019.  The latest case is in a commercial layer flock in Riverside County. 

On Jan. 8, 2019, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed virulent Newcastle disease in a second commercial poultry flock in California. The case is in a commercial layer flock in Riverside County. This finding is part of an outbreak in southern California that began in May 2018 in backyard exhibition birds.

Related: USDA confirms virulent Newcastle disease in commercial chicken flock in California

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. In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild, and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment. 

APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to the finding, limit the disease’s spread in commercial poultry, and then eradicate it. Federal and state partners are conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area, and are working with nearby commercial farms to increase biosecurity to prevent additional disease spread.

It is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases.  These include steps like washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area; and cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off the property.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, 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.  Additional information on biosecurity for all poultry flocks can be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock.

What does virulent Newcastle look like in birds?

Virulent 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. A death rate of almost 100 percent can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. Virulent Newcastle disease can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry.

Clinical signs of virulent Newcastle disease include: sudden death and increased death loss in the flock; sneezing; gasping for air; nasal discharge; coughing; greenish, watery diarrhea; decreased activity; tremors; drooping wings; twisting of the head and neck; circling; complete stiffness; and swelling around the eyes and neck.

Source: USDA APHIS, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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