Another instance of virulent Newcastle disease was confirmed outside of California, this time in Coconino County, Arizona. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the discovery last week after evaluating a small flock of pet birds. It is the first time the disease has been confirmed in Arizona and is believed to be linked to the current California outbreak, as tests illustrate a nearly identical virus as the one found in California. Last month USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced an additional $45 million would be made available for APHIS to work with its partners such as the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to address the disease.
CDFA State Veterinarian, Dr. Annette Jones highlighted the importance of continued outreach with the community at the recent State Board of Food and Agriculture meeting. “It just takes time to penetrate the message into all these communities because they also do not want this disease,” said Jones. “One of our mitigation things is to keep that relationship up because we will never get rid of it as a state agency we absolutely have to be working together and so we’re seeing that but some of them still are very resistant because they believe their birds aren’t going to get it.”
Since being discovered back in May 2018, there have been more than 400 cases of virulent Newcastle disease confirmed to be part of the southern California outbreak. The disease was previously confirmed in Utah, despite efforts to contain the virus within California. “Utah was an example where the owner gave it to a brother who brought it to a place to the keep the birds in Utah where they’d be safe. Well none of those birds where they brought them to were vaccinated and they all immediately died, so we picked up the disease right away in Utah,” said Jones.
Bird owners are urged to practice good biosecurity protocol and report any sick birds or unusual deaths to veterinarians. Information on biosecurity practices for poultry can be found through the APHIS website.