The number of people working to help eradicate virulent Newcastle disease in California has doubled recently, largely because of $45 million in emergency funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Those new funds, in addition to $27 million previously spent on fighting and controlling the outbreak, still falls short of money allocated during the last outbreak of vND, formerly known as exotic Newcastle disease, occurred in 2002-2003, reported the Press-Enterprise. During that outbreak, about $170 million was spent battling the disease, which has resulted in the loss of about 1.2 million birds.

Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, said the emergency funding was welcomed, but indicated more may be needed.

“The federal funding wasn’t coming as quickly as it was in 2002-2003. I think this new funding will help us get the people we need to eradicate the disease, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Mattos. “We may need more funding.”

The present outbreak started in May 2018, when a “backyard exhibition chicken” in Los Angeles County, California, was confirmed to have vND. Since that time, 417, cases have been reported, including detection in several commercial layer and pullet flocks in Riverside County, California.

While the bulk of the vND cases have been confirmed in the southern part of California, Utah and Arizona have each reported one single case of vND. The Utah and Arizona cases are believed to be related to the California outbreak.

Latest cases of vND

In its latest weekly report of new vND cases, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported three new confirmations for the week beginning April 5 and ending April 11. All three of those involved backyard exhibition chickens. Two of those were in Riverside County and the other was in San Bernardino County.