February 4, 2019: Two additional ranches with egg laying hens have been confirmed positive for vND. The first is a small ranch in San Bernardino County that was confirmed on January 22, 2019.  The hens have been euthanized.   The second is a larger commercial facility in Riverside County that was confirmed positive on February 1, 2019.

These findings are part of the vND outbreak that began May 2018 in backyard birds. For a list of cases visit the USDA website at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/vnd

By moving quickly, to humanely euthanize affected flocks, we are eradicating the disease to prevent further spread and unnecessary suffering of these birds that would otherwise die from the virus.  

Virulent Newcastle disease is a fatal respiratory virus in poultry.  It is highly contagious, and birds die within days of being infected.  There is no cure.  Euthanasia is the only way to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease. VND is primarily transmitted by the movement of infected birds, but also by people who have the virus on their clothes or shoes, and by equipment or vehicles that can carry and transport the disease from place to place. 

It is critical that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to protect their birds and to stop the spread of the disease. 

Simple steps:

Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern, and no human cases of the virus have occurred from eating poultry. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. Human infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment and following sound biosecurity practices.  In very rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can develop mild symptoms that are like conjunctivitis or the flu.

USDA/APHIS and CDFA will remain diligent in our joint efforts to stop the spread of the disease and eradicate the virus when, and where, it’s found.