Newcastle Disease Information

    Exotic Newcastle Disease Letter to Orange County Residents

    January 3, 2003

    Dear Orange County Residents,

    The State Veterinarian has declared Orange County a quarantined area for Exotic Newcastle Disease (END). At this time, transportation of the following species, in or out of the County, is prohibited. Poultry species quarantined include: chicken, turkeys, ducks, geese, grouse, partridges, pheasants, quail, guinea fowl, pea fowl, doves, pigeon, swans, ratites and their eggs. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has advised us that the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino have confirmed cases of Exotic Newcastle Disease, a highly contagious virus affecting backyard poultry and other birds. The CDFA has quarantined 3,218 premises in these counties and has euthanized 143,000 birds. Although there have not been any reported confirmed cases in Orange County, the CDFA will be following up on epidemiological investigations.

    END is transmitted by infected birds, fecal material or can be aerosolized over a short distance. The virus may survive for several weeks in a warm, humid environment, and indefinitely in frozen material. The virus is rapidly destroyed by dehydration and sunlight, or one minute at boiling temperature. END does not affect humans, but can be passed to healthy birds through improper handling of diseased birds. As a result, the CDFA and other first responders will be wearing personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of Newcastle Disease.

    Exotic Newcastle Disease does not pose a threat to human health; eggs and poultry products are safe to eat.

    Orange County has a small percentage of birds that could be contaminated. However, contamination in the commercial market could have a large economic impact on the state. Please brief your staff so that they may inform those who possess backyard poultry to notify them of this quarantine.

    I have enclosed several helpful handouts from the CDFA's website I encourage you to review this website's material on information for pet owners as well as biosecurity protocols for law and animal control. If you are concerned that you may have a suspect case of END, please call the Exotic Newcastle Disease Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.


    Julie Ann Ryan Johnson Signature

    Julie Ann Ryan Johnson, DVM