Following the recent report of a new case of virulent Newcastle disease (VND) in San Diego County, Cal., California state veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones reported Sept. 6 that an ongoing investigation determined that infected birds had been moved from within the VND quarantine area in Riverside County, Cal., which led to the disease detection in the Ramona area of San Diego County.
"This bird movement occurred in violation of the quarantine. It is important to note that any bird movement within a quarantined area is prohibited by law, and violators are subject to fines ranging from $100 to $1,000, or up to $25,000 if a violator is proven to have moved the virus," Jones said in an announcement from the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA).
"While we continue our surveillance and testing in the Ramona area, we are hopeful that the rapid actions of responsible poultry owners and the CDFA/[U.S. Department of Agriculture] VND response team have effectively contained the virus to a small area," Jones said. "Bird owners under quarantine are not permitted to move their birds, because exposed birds may appear healthy but could be in the early stages of infection and highly contagious to other birds. We are counting on community cooperation to help us stop the spread of VND and eradicate the disease."
Southern California has been dealing with the current VND outbreak since May 2018. It has mostly affected backyard poultry and show birds but was also detected in four commercial operations. VND has also been discovered in Utah and Arizona, which was linked to southern California.
"It is critically important that bird owners under quarantine understand that moving birds, especially those that carry and shed the virus, put others at significant risk," Jones said.
According to Jones, mandatory euthanasia of infected and exposed poultry in connection with the Ramona incident has occurred at properties in San Diego and Riverside counties. The VND response team is conducting mandatory testing in the immediate areas surrounding the new cases, as well as conducting ongoing surveillance and testing within the quarantined areas in Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, CDFA said.
"Detections of VND have decreased greatly over the last few months as response teams continue their work to detect any small pockets of infection, stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease," Jones concluded.