Virulent Newcastle Disease

Since May 18, USDA has confirmed several cases of vND in backyard birds in California. Virulent Newcastle Disease (vND), formerly known as Exotic Newcastle Disease is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs. vND is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected with mild symptoms.

What Veterinarians Need to Know

  • vND must be reported to the California State Veterinarian within 24 hours of a confirmed or suspected case. View reporting instructions here.
  • This vND fact sheet provides information on clinical signs, biosecurity tips and more.
  • Information on locations of positive birds is available on the USDA vND website.

Veterinarians are being asked by the USDA to inform their clients of the following:

It is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases. These simple steps include:

  • Washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering an area with birds;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off the property; and
  • Isolating any birds returning from shows for 30 days before placing them with the rest of the flock.

All bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Veterinarians may wish to print and distribute this flyer to clients who own birds.

More information on the disease including clinical signs, diagnosis, biosecurity and more may be accessed here.

© 2021 California Veterinary Medical Association

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