Virulent Newcastle Detection Grows to 22 Locations

June 28, 2018

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has confirmed 22 cases of virulent Newcastle disease, all in backyard exhibition birds, in California.   A complete list of confirmed cases is available on USDA’s website.

A white free range chicken.

Virulent Newcastle disease has not been found in commercial poultry in the United States since 2003.  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. Symptoms are usually very mild and limited to conjunctivitis. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.

Samples from the flocks were tested at the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS). The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms all findings. APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to these findings and to conduct an epidemiological investigation. Federal and State partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area.