US has first virulent Newcastle disease case since June

After more than a two-month absence, virulent Newcastle disease (vND) has resurfaced in the United States.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Zyabich | Bigstock)
(Zyabich | Bigstock)

After more than a two-month absence, virulent Newcastle disease (vND) has resurfaced in the United States.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed one additional premises as positive for virulent Newcastle disease in San Bernardino County, California. The case is the first one in the country since June 4.

According to APHIS, the case was detected in a retail feed store and confirmed on August 14. While the majority of the vND cases that have occurred in the United States since May 17, 2018, were confirmed in what APHIS refers to as “backyard exhibition chickens,” there were two previous cases in which the virus was detected in commercial feed stores. Both previous feed store detections were in Riverside County. But the vND outbreak has also hit the commercial egg industry in California, claiming an estimated 1.1 million chickens.

Nearly all of the cases of vND since the outbreak began in May 2018 have been confirmed in California, although there has been one case each in Utah and Arizona. A total of 449 premises have been affected by vND.

In mid-June, following a full week without new vND detections, California State Veterinarian Annette Jones told WATT Global Media a quarantine in place in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties that prohibited bird movement could be attributed to the slowing down of the disease’s spread, along with cooperation from communities, diligent work from veterinary crews and added resources to combat vND’s spread.

According to APHIS, all birds that are affected by vND are quickly euthanized to help prevent the disease’s further spread.

The agency stated that it will issue an immediate notification if vND is confirmed in a state where it had not previously been detected. In all other new vND cases, it will submit a weekly update to stakeholders.

Prior to 2018, the last time vND, previously known as exotic Newcastle disease, had been detected in the United States was 2003.

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