Newcastle Disease

As of March 2019, virulent Newcastle Disease (vND) outbreak in California is now confirmed in the following counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino. See Clinical Signs of the disease below.

This is a foreign animal disease that has not been seen in California since 2002. The current outbreak is particularly concerning because of the most recent case Alameda County demonstrates that the disease can spread anywhere. The disease has never spread this far north before. It is primarily spread among backyard birds and has ‘spilled over’ into several commercial farms in Southern California.

Virulent Newcastle Disease is a highly contagious and deadly virus in birds; the virus is found in respiratory discharges and feces.

Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild, and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment. 

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths through:

California’s Sick Bird Hotline
866-922-BIRD (2473
)

Additional information on vND can be found at:

Clinical Signs in Poultry

  • sneezing
  • coughing 
  • nasal discharge 
  • green watery diarrhea 
  • depression 
  • neck twisting 
  • circling 
  • muscle tremors 
  • paralysis
  • decreased egg production 
  • swelling around eyes and neck 
  • sudden death      

Example of twisted neck (PC: Pamela Hullinger).

Example of twisted neck.
Photo Credit: Pamela Hullinger

About Newcastle Disease

This is a foreign animal disease that has not been seen in California since 2002. The current outbreak is particularly concerning because of the most recent case Alameda County demonstrates that the disease can spread anywhere. The disease has never spread this far north before. It is primarily spread among backyard birds and has ‘spilled over’ into several commercial farms in Southern California.

Virulent Newcastle Disease is a highly contagious and deadly virus in birds; the virus is found in respiratory discharges and feces.

Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild, and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment. 

Additional Resources

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths through:

California’s Sick Bird Hotline
866-922-BIRD (2473
)

Additional information on vND can be found at: