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January 10, 2003
Emergency Management Warning 18

Exotic Newcastle Disease Confirmed in California

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has instituted an additional quarantine zone to serve as a buffer around the END-affected area in Southern California. The department has also declared an emergency to provide additional resources and authorities to the eradication campaign for exotic Newcastle disease (END) in Southern California. Officials with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) continue to work closely on these efforts.

The disease was confirmed on October 1, 2002, and has now spread beyond backyard flocks to affect three commercial operations. Clinical signs in infected birds include respiratory, nervous, and gastrointestinal signs. Mortality is up to 90% of exposed birds. Investigations are on-going and all figures are pending final validation. Veterinary Services (VS) is working to rapidly expand staff on the Task Force. Over the next three months, VS expects to deploy 100 people per week to the Task Force for three-week rotations, and is canceling meetings and training to meet the personnel demands.

Situation update (From California's 5:00 p.m. PST, January 9, 2003, report):

Number of premises positive (clinical and contacts): 1,168 (up 8 from 1/9 report)

Number of premises depopulated: 706

Premises waiting to be depopulated: 462

Birds depopulated to date: 150,921 (approximate)

Counties with positive flocks: Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura.

Operational Update (as of 12:00 p.m. EST, January 10, 2003):

Of the 1,168 premises designated for depopulation, 60.4% have been completed.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed that sequencing on samples from a backyard premises in Ventura County, CA, was identical to the virus found in other END infected premises in California. This premises is the first confirmed premises in Ventura County.

California Governor Gray Davis declared a State of emergency in the fight against the END outbreak in California. The emergency declaration will enable State agencies to pool resources and work cooperatively with CDFA in addressing the response to the incident.

Effective January 7, 2003, APHIS imposed a federal quarantine that regulates the interstate movement of all species of birds and poultry products from Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties, CA. USDA has declared an extraordinary emergency. The extraordinary emergency allows USDA to apply federal authority within the State of California.

Three commercial flocks have been confirmed with END in Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties, CA. The three operations housed approximately 1.2 million birds. Depopulation of these birds has already begun.

VS has worked with the U.S. Postal Service to affirm that poultry will not be able to move out of the quarantined areas through the mail.

State and animal health officials are conducting door-to-door surveys to identify fowl and other birds in the affected areas and are following up on epidemiological associations.

To date, depopulation, cleaning and disinfecting, and carcass disposal are being conducted by CDFA and APHIS.

CDFA has closed all poultry exhibits and fairs and expositions within the State of California.

Affected and exposed poultry are being euthanized and double-bagged. Task Force members are disinfecting the bags and transporting the carcasses to restricted landfills for burials.

Local commercial table egg layer birds and spent-hen movements have been halted within the quarantined areas.

New Trade Issues:

Nothing new to report.

Emergency Management Issue is for information with no impact on APHIS
Emergency Management Notice is an ongoing incident with potential impact on APHIS
Emergency Management Warning is an ongoing incident with almost certain impact on APHIS


Photo of chickens behind a wire fence.

For More Information

California END Hotline 800-491-1899

California Emergency Operations Center, call

For Media inquiries, call

To contact APHIS Veterinary Services' Emergency Program Staff, call 301-734-8073, 800-940-6524 or email

California Department of Food and Agriculture