Virulent Newcastle Disease found in San Diego birds

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) was detected last weekend at a property in central San Diego County, a state veterinarian said Sunday.

The detection was identified when a private veterinarian submitted dead birds to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, according to state veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.

An ongoing investigation determined that infected birds moved from within the VND quarantine area in Riverside County, and is now confirmed Ramona area of San Diego County. This bird movement occurred in violation of the quarantine. Any bird movement within a quarantined area is prohibited by law and violators are subject to fines ranging from $100 up to $25,000 if a violator is proven to have moved the virus.

“While we continue our surveillance and testing in the Ramona-area, we are hopeful that the rapid actions of responsible poultry owners and the CDFA/USDA VND response team have effectively contained the virus to a small area. Bird owners under quarantine are not permitted to move their birds, because exposed birds may appear healthy but could be in the early stages of infection and highly contagious to other birds.  We are counting on community cooperation to help us stop the spread of VND and eradicate the disease,” says Jones in a statement.

Moving birds, especially those that carry and shed the virus, put others at significant risk.

Mandatory euthanasia of infected and exposed poultry in connection with this incident has occurred at properties in San Diego and Riverside counties.  The VND response team is conducting mandatory testing in the immediate areas surrounding the new cases, as well as conducting ongoing surveillance and testing within the quarantined areas in Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

Detections of VND have decreased greatly over the last few months as response teams continue their work to detect any small pockets of infection, stop the spread of the virus, and eradicate the disease.

Bird owners in Southern California are urged to remain aware of VND signs, practice good biosecurity, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline 866-922-2473.

More information about VND and biosecurity guidelines to keep birds healthy are available on the CDFA virulent Newcastle disease web and Facebook pages. https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Animal_Health/Newcastle_Disease_Info.html

“Our priority remains to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease,” Jones said. “We have made significant progress toward this goal by identifying and clearing remaining pockets of disease, but this case reminds all bird owners in Southern California to remain aware of VND signs, practice good biosecurity, stop illegal movement of birds from property to property, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline.”

Categories: Health