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Release No. 0321.03
Alisa Harrison (202) 720-4623
Suzan Holl (301) 734-6464


     WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2003 – Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced that there are no longer any areas in the United States that are quarantined because of exotic Newcastle disease (END), a serious disease of poultry and other birds.

     “This administration is committed to enhancing our pest and disease control and prevention efforts,” Veneman said. “I congratulate all the state and federal personnel who have worked tirelessly to eradicate exotic Newcastle disease.”

     While this is a major milestone in the fight to end what was a very serious avian disease outbreak, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials warn that continued precautions should be taken against the reintroduction of END.

     Today’s action removes portions of Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, Calif., from the list of END quarantined areas. This means that restrictions are removed on the movement of birds, poultry and certain other articles from those areas. This action comes 11 months after END was verified in California.

     END is one of the most infectious poultry diseases in the world. It is a contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of all species of birds. The virus is spread primarily through direct contact between healthy birds and the bodily discharges of infected birds. The disease is transmitted through infected birds' droppings and secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes. END is not considered a public health threat.

     USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) encourages bird owners to take biosecurity precautions and to report sick birds immediately to local animal health authorities.

     This interim rule is scheduled for publication in the Sept. 19 Federal Register and was effective Sept. 16. APHIS documents published in the Federal Register and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS dockets, are available on the Internet at

     Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Nov. 18. Send an original and three copies of postal or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. 02-117-10, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. If you use e-mail, address your comments to Your comments must be contained in the body of the message; do not send attached files. Please include your name and address in the message and use "Docket No. 02-117-10" on the subject line.

     Comments may be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to review comments are requested to call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to facilitate entry into the comment reading room.


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