For Immediate Release Contact:
October 3, 2002 Leticia Rico
Release# CDFACDFA02-055 Larry Hawkins
OUTBREAK OF EXOTIC NEWCASTLE DISEASE DETECTED IN
All bird owners urged to carefully watch for symptoms
SACRAMENTO- The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)is investigating an outbreak of Exotic Newcastle Disease in
small flocks of backyard birds in Southern California. The disease is known to spread rapidly and is associated with high mortality rates. CDFA is working with the United States Department of Agriculture to assess the
extent of the spread and to contact bird owners about the disease. So far, tracing activities do not indicate that the disease has spread beyond
Southern California, and it has not been detected in commercial flocks. There is no threat to public health.
Birds may catch Exotic Newcastle Disease through contact with other infected birds or contaminated materials. Movement of birds or materials can
easily spread the disease. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, diarrhea, listlessness and sudden death.
Until the disease is under control, CDFA has suspended all poultry exhibitions at local fairgrounds, and all bird owners are being asked to stop the movement and sales of backyard birds. There could be additional measures in the near future to control the spread of the disease.
"It is vital for bird owners to know the symptoms of Exotic Newcastle
Disease," said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. "I urge all bird owners to contact their veterinarians or CDFA immediately if they suspect the disease."
California bird owners are asked to report suspicious cases
One person said she spoke with Larry Hawkins from CDFA and he said that any MART and Show, sales etc., done on State/ county Fair Grounds
(in California) will not be allowed until further notice. Those people who are putting marts on private property however, cancontinue at this time even though it is their strong recommendation that they do not have any marts,
shows, or sales until further notice.
The State still may exercise the right to call a halt to all exhibits public and private. So far ostriches, chickens, pigeons and doves, have been
depopulated due to New Castles and there are 3 counties and 7 cities are
under investigation in Southern California. http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/exec/pa/pressreleases/PressRelease.asp?PRnum=CDFA02-055
Another person wrote they had just spoken to their local veterinarian about obtaining a health certificate, and was told that Canada, Hawaii, Mexico and France have banned any imports of birds or poultry and poultry products from
California and that he would have to check with USDA tomorrow about shipping birds to other states.
A zoo person said that birds they had ordered could not be shipped to them until the VVND situation was completely resolved. Dr. Coats pointed out that a wide variety of pet and wild
birds can carry the disease. He urged flock owners to check birds and report signs of
illness to the TAHC at 1-800-550-8242. TAHC or USDA veterinarians can work with private practitioners at no charge to collect samples for
testing. Signs to watch for include:
* birds that gasp and cough
* birds that exhibit central nervous system disorders, such as circling, depression, paralysis, drooping wings or dragging legs
* birds that produce fewer eggs
* birds that have greenish diarrhea
* birds that develop swelling of tissues around the eyes and neck
* unusually high death losses in the flock
Dr. Coats said laboratory testing is needed to confirm a clinical diagnosis of the Newcastle Disease, as signs can also mimic those of
other poultry diseases. Carrier birds can spread the virus through respiratory discharges or feces.
Caretakers can also become mechanical carriers of the disease, as the virus can be picked up and carried on shoes and clothing, feed trucks or
equipment. In warm, humid weather, the virus can survive several weeks; in cold temperatures, it can remain alive indefinitely. Viral disinfectants,dry weather and sunlight kill the virus.
Richardson said people who visit a feed store, a
neighbor's farm, coffee shop or grocery store should change their clothes and disinfect footwear
before returning to their poultry houses. "It's just too easy to get clothing or footwear contaminated with a disease-causing virus and then
carry it home," he said.
He said an outbreak in southern California in 1971 resulted in the depopulation of nearly 12 million birds on 1,341 farms. That outbreak,
which cost taxpayers $56 million, took three years to eradicate, and disrupted poultry production and trade, and impacted prices
of poultry products.