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USDA confirms virulent Newcastle disease in Utah

First VND case discovered in Utah in exhibition poultry that were imported from California.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed Jan. 18 the presence of virulent Newcastle disease (VND) in a small flock of backyard exhibition chickens in Utah County, Utah.

This is the first case of VND in Utah, APHIS said.

According to APHIS, this case is believed to be connected to the current VND outbreak in California, as three of the birds at the premises were recently moved to Utah from Los Angeles County, Cal. Since May 2018, 299 cases of VND have been confirmed in southern California, primarily in backyard exhibition birds, but also recently in three commercial egg operations.

APHIS said it is working with the Utah Department of Agriculture & Food (UDAF) to respond to the finding. Federal and state partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area.

UDAF confirmed that exhibition poultry (i.e., privately owned/non-commercial chickens), imported from California at the beginning of January and placed with a small domestic flock (250 birds) in Utah County, have tested positive for VND.

UDAF said it received a report of a possible case of VND in Utah County earlier this week and quarantined the site. VND in the birds was confirmed Jan. 17 by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Iowa.

In Utah, the disease is currently contained to one domestic flock and has not been detected in any commercial poultry flocks, UDAF said.

“The disease is spread when healthy birds come in contact with bodily fluids from infected birds and contaminated surfaces,” UDAF state veterinarian Dr. Barry Pittman said.

This disease can be transmitted through manure, egg flats, crates, farming materials or equipment, vehicles or through people who have handled these materials and their clothing, hands and shoes, UDAF said.

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