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US West coast continues to battle Newcastle disease

California’s Department of Food and Agriculture has recommended restricting poultry gatherings in 4 counties as the state continues to battle Newcastle Disease outbreaks in backyard flocks.

It comes as the first case of the virus was confirmed in a flock of birds in Utah, which authorities believe is linked.

Since May 2018 nearly 300 cases of Newcastle Disease have been confirmed in Southern California, predominantly in backyard exhibition birds.

California’s Department of Food and Agriculture has recommended restricting poultry gatherings in 4 counties as the state continues to battle Newcastle Disease outbreaks in backyard flocks. Photo: Ronald Hissink
California’s Department of Food and Agriculture has recommended restricting poultry gatherings in 4 counties as the state continues to battle Newcastle Disease outbreaks in backyard flocks. Photo: Ronald Hissink

Over 500,000 birds culled

3 commercial poultry flocks have been affected, and more than 500,000 birds culled in attempts to halt the virus spread.

In a letter to poultry organisations, state veterinarian Annette Jones said: “To support our disease containment and eradication efforts, the California State Veterinarian is recommending that all poultry exhibitions that include birds from high-risk counties (Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura) be cancelled.”

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The department recommends high standards of biosecurity as the best way to control spread, in particular highlighting the need to:

  • Wash hands and scrubbing and disinfecting boots before and after entering a poultry area
  • Keep birds and property clean and disease-free
  • Not moving birds on or off your property if you’re in an infected area
  • Cleaning and disinfecting equipment and tires, before moving them off the property.