Successful Elimination of Virulent Newcastle Disease in California

Brian German Industry, Poultry

California officials have gotten a handle on Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND), after two years of efforts to address the issue. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have announced an end to the VND quarantine in Southern California.

Virulent Newcastle Disease

“This is definitely the day that we’ve been looking forward to,” California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones told AgNet West. “It’s a day we’re able to say we’ve done enough testing in a widespread area over a long enough period of time to confidently state that there are no signs of Newcastle Disease in the greater L.A. area.” 

The disease was first detected in May of 2018 in Los Angeles County and by December the virus had spread extensively in backyard poultry in the L.A. Basin and also infected commercial flocks. A total of 1.2 million chickens died or were euthanized during the outbreak, with 1.1 million coming from poultry farms. Multiple government agencies and community members were involved in addressing the outbreak. “We have eagerly anticipated this day and are extremely proud of the tireless work of the Virulent Newcastle Disease Task Force,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a press release.   

Poultry will now be able to move freely once again in California, while still adhering to the mandated safety protocols. Jones explained that their outreach with community members and industry stakeholders should allow the state to be better prepared in the event of another outbreak in the future. The goal is to allow some experts to remain in the area to continue working with the community and commercial producers to help in continuing to strengthen biosecurity practices.

“I think the understanding of biosecurity and disease and protecting chickens; it took a while, but it really is embedded now in Southern California,” Jones noted. “So, we’re just going to take a minute and feel good about the success; we need some good news.”

Listen to the interview below.

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Brian German

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Multimedia Journalist for AgNet West