Newcastle disease has been reported in St. Helena, the first occurrence of the disease in this South Atlantic island nation, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Two outbreaks have been reported.

The first outbreak affected two groups of backyard laying chickens, plus a number of local wild chickens. Most were hens. In that outbreak, 53 birds died and an additional 75 were destroyed. The other outbreak occurred in a flock of backyard laying hens, with 30 cases. Fifteen of the affected birds died, while the other 15 were destroyed.

The source of the outbreaks has not yet been determined, but the OIE reported that imported poultry meat appears to be a likely source.

After laboratory tests conducted by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, UK, came back positive for the presence of Newcastle disease, animal health officials implemented control measures. Those measures included quarantine, movement control inside the country and disinfection of the infected premises. Other birds in the area have been vaccinated in response to the Newcastle disease outbreaks. A total of 1,389 birds were treated, according to the OIE.

OIE considers the two outbreaks in St. Helena to be resolved, but will continue to submit follow-up reports concerning Newcastle disease in St. Helena.