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Archive Number 20030407.0848
Published Date 07-APR-2003
Subject PRO/AH/EDR> Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (TX): suspected
 
NEWCASTLE DISEASE, GAME BIRDS - USA (TEXAS):SUSPECTED
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A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
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Date: 7 Apr 2003
From: Carla Everett <ceverett@tahc.state.tx.us>
Source: Official Texas of Animal Health Commission release


Texas Animal Health CommissionNews Release:
For immediate release April 7, 2003


Poultry and Bird Disease
Suspected in Texas;
Owners Warned to Protect Birds and Poultry

A flock of non-commercial chickens south of El Paso is suspected of having 
Exotic Newcastle Disease (END), a foreign-origin virus that is deadly to 
poultry and birds.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian examined the birds 
Saturday, 5 Apr 2003, after receiving a report of  high death loss in the 
flock.  While awaiting laboratory confirmation of the presumptive 
diagnosis, which should be  completed by Friday, 11 Apr 2003, a team of 
state and federal animal health officials has gathered on site to contain the
flock and to assess the area to determine if infection may have spread to 
nearby flocks, or if birds or poultry might have been exposed to the 
sick  birds recently transported from the area.

If the disease is confirmed by the National Veterinary Service Laboratory 
in Ames, Iowa, Texas would be the fourth state to be stricken by this 
foreign poultry disease since October 2002, when an END outbreak was 
detected in California.  Since then, the virus  also has been found--and 
eradicated--in backyard flocks in Arizona and Nevada.

"An END outbreak creates an extremely serious situation for bird owners in 
Texas.  With the possibility that this disease is in our state, we again 
remind bird owners that they must follow strict biosecurity procedures and 
movement restrictions in order to guard against the accidental introduction 
of disease to their flocks, to other backyard or hobby flocks, or to the 
Texas and New Mexico commercial poultry  industry," warned Dr. Bob Hillman, 
Texas state veterinarian and executive director for the Texas Animal Health 
Commission (TAHC), the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory agency.

"Bird and poultry owners must not move birds from the El Paso area," he 
said.  "When buying birds or poultry, ensure also that they did not 
originate from quarantined areas in southern California.  Because END can 
spread from direct contact, keep newly purchased birds isolated for at 
least 30 days.  Maintain records on new birds, so if there is a health 
problem, we can trace it to the source more quickly."

Dr. Hillman explained that, while END usually has an incubation period of 2 
to 15 days, pet birds, especially parrots, can be infectious for more than 
a year, without exhibiting any signs of illness.   Commonly, END can cause 
birds to sneeze or gasp and develop a greenish, watery diarrhea. Birds may 
also develop muscle tremors, a twisting of the head and neck,
complete paralysis, or a swelling around the eyes and neck.  In many cases, 
sudden death loss is the only sign that a problem exists within the flock.

"END does not affect humans, and chicken and eggs are safe to eat.  For the 
poultry and bird industry, however, END has deadly--and expensive 
consequences.  Today, more than 1,400 animal health veterinarians and 
inspectors from across the country are working on the END outbreak in 
southern California, which so far, has spread to 22 commercial poultry 
flocks.  Another 2400 backyard flocks have either been infected  or exposed 
to the fast-moving virus, and about 15 500  flocks remain quarantined.

As of early April [2003] , more than 3.5 million birds in southern 
California have been destroyed to stop the spread of the disease.  In late 
winter, END alsowas detected in several backyard flocks in Nevada and 
Arizona, but fortunately these small outbreaks were eradicated quickly."

"Do not take chances with your birds," Dr. Hillman reiterated.  "By 
following some biosecurity practices, you can reduce the chance of 
infection in your flock. However, if you see signs of illness or sudden 
death loss in your flock, call your private veterinary practitioner or the 
TAHC immediately."

Dr. Hillman reminded bird and poultry owners that the TAHC hotline is in 
operation 24 hours a day at 1-800-550-8242.  TAHC veterinarians, trained as 
foreign animal disease diagnosticians, work with private veterinary 
practitioners and poultry disease experts free of charge to assess the 
flock and collect samples for laboratory testing.

"Please, keep an eye on your birds and poultry.  Diseases spread quickly, 
so immediate reporting is vital to saving the industry money, time and 
heartbreak.  The sooner we know of a disease problem, the sooner we can 
deal with it and stop the outbreak," said Dr. Hillman.

Dr. Hillman urged bird and poultry owners to abide by the following good 
biosecurity  practices:

* Don't keep pet birds on commercial poultry operations.  Don't allow 
employees to maintain their own birds or poultry. Your staff could carry 
bacteria or viruses from their birds to yours.  Supply clean clothes and 
footwear, or disposable coveralls and shoe covers, for your employees to 
wear when working with your birds.

* Disinfect tires and the under carriages of all vehicles as they enter or 
leave the farm or premises  (no 'germs in,' no 'germs out').  In humid, 
warm weather, viruses can live on surfaces for weeks, so don't hope that 
they will 'wear off' trucks or tires.

* Going to the feed store or coffee shop? Don't work with your birds until 
you've changed into clean clothes and disinfected footwear. Viruses can be 
tracked into or from stores on boots and clothing.


* Avoid visiting other poultry operations.  Dangerous bacteria and viruses 
can be transported from one farm to another.  If you must loan tools or 
equipment, ensure the items are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to 
use.

* Maintain good records on purchases and sales. If a disease problem 
arises, these documents can help animal health officials track and 
eradicate disease.

--
Carla Everett
<ceverett@tahc.state.tx.us>

[The spread from the western states to the western most edge of Texas is 
interesting. Cases in other states have involved  fighting birds.  The 
above report does mention that the involvement here is in non-commercial 
flocks and one wonders if these may also be fighting birds as was seen in 
California, Nevada and Arizona.  There is frequently unlicensed transport 
of these fighting birds, and such activity may represent biosecurity risks, 
as the unlicensed transport is difficult to control. - Mods.TG/MPP]

[see also:
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty - USA (west) (09)20030407.0845
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty - USA (west) (08) 20030319.0685
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty - USA (west) (07) 20030315.0650
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA(West)(06) 20030311.0591
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA(West)(05) 20030309.0579
Newcastle Disease, game fowl, plty - USA (West)(04) 20030302.0523
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (west)(03) 20030222.0463
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (west)(02) 20030211.0372
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) (06) 20030209.0353
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (west) 20030206.0318
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (CA,NV) (02) 20030204.0304
Newcastle disease, game fowl, poultry - USA (CA, NV) 20030127.0246
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) (05) 20030117.0145
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA)(04) 20030116.0129
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA)(03) 20030108.0060
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) (02) 20030104.0021
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) 20030103.0014
2002
----
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (TX): warning 20021006.5482
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) 20021228.6147
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (11) 20021221.6104
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (02) 20021012.5533
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA): OIE 20021004.5468]
.....................tg/mpp

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