In a Feb. 20 update posted to the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) website, California state veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones noted that poultry farms in the state "continue to make significant biosecurity investments," and weekly testing has demonstrated that those farms remain free from virulent Newcastle disease (VND).
However, she reported that after finding no cases through the mandatory testing program for almost six weeks, the VND virus was detected in two additional backyard flocks in the Bloomington, Cal., area. Jones said both flocks were showing signs of disease, and laboratory results suggest that VND may have been in at least one of the flocks "for some time."
According to Jones, the backyard flock owners did not call CDFA to report disease, and "it is possible that some birds were moved off of at least one of the properties before our arrival."
She added, "Moving exposed birds results in one thing: more flocks becoming infected. While the VAST majority of poultry owners in southern California have taken the time to understand this disease and have made great sacrifices for the good of all southern California poultry, a few continue to perpetuate this outbreak."
Jones said in the days and weeks ahead, CDFA "will evaluate these recent detections and determine what they may mean for the entire VND quarantine area."