Virulent Newcastle Disease in California update

January 11, 2019

On January 8, enhanced surveillance detected virulent Newcastle disease virus (vNDV) in a retail feed store and a commercial chicken laying farm. There was an increase in mortality in chickens and quail at the feed store. The birds at the retail feed store were depopulated and the premises was cleaned and disinfected. The birds at the commercial laying farm showed no clinical signs or increases in mortality.

The commercial pullet flock from Dec. 14 had apparently been vaccinated three times previously. The farm was in close proximity to a cluster of cases in backyard/fighting cock locations. The flock was depopulated and carcasses were transferred to a landfill. According to the California State Veterinarian the premises will be decontaminated and will “lie fallow for 120 days” Appropriate epidemiologic investigations are in progress. The widely dispersed population of susceptible and semi-immunized flocks located in clusters and subject to periodic movement as part of an illegal ongoing activity has made control of this ongoing outbreak a challenge.

It is expected that restrictions imposed by importers of U.S. poultry and products will be limited to zones, county and in extreme cases to the State of California.

A complete list of confirmed cases is available at

For details on Newcastle disease please refer to this useful fact sheet produced by the Poultry Health Research Network at the University of Guelph

See attached California Dept of Agriculture News Alert requiring euthanasia of all backyard flocks in four high risk areas

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