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Emergency Management Warning 21

Exotic Newcastle Disease Confirmed in 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 efforts to control the exotic Newcastle disease (END) outbreak in Southern California. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has instituted a quarantine zone that serves as a buffer around the END-affected area in Southern California. The department has also declared an extraordinary emergency to provide additional resources and authorities to the eradication campaign for END in Southern California.

The disease was confirmed on October 1, 2002, and has now spread beyond backyard flocks to affect five 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 rapidly to expand staff on the Task Force and is exploring all options to send APHIS personnel, other federal government personnel, and to work with the State on considering additional resources to meet the labor demands.

Situation Update (From California's 5:00 p.m. PST, January 14, 2003, report):

Number of premises positive: 351 (up 8 from 1/14 report)

Number of dangerous contacts: 860 (up 1 from 1/14 report)

Number of premises released: 4

Number of premises depopulated: 811

Premises waiting to be depopulated: 404

Birds depopulated to date: 587,650 (approximate)

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

Operational Update (as of 12:00 a.m. EST, January 15, 2003):

Of the 1,215 premises designated for depopulation, 66.7% have been completed.

Five commercial flocks have been confirmed with END in Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties, CA.

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.

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

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, fairs, and expositions within the State of California's quarantined area.

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 burial.

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

New Trade Issues:

Effective January 17, 2003, Mexico has placed a ban on the importation of all poultry and poultry products from the entire United States.

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

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

California Department of Food and Agriculture