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Archive Number 20021026.5646
Published Date 26-OCT-2002
Subject PRO/AH> Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (04)
NEWCASTLE DISEASE, GAME BIRDS - USA (CALIFORNIA) (04)
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[1]
Date 25 Oct 2002
From: Thomas E Walton <Thomas.E.Walton@usda.gov>
Source: official news release [edited]


Newcastle Disease Confirmed in California
-------------------------
Officials with the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) and the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) are conducting a 
campaign to eradicate Newcastle disease.  The disease was confirmed on 1 
Oct 2002 and is restricted to backyard poultry.  Clinical signs in infected 
birds include respiratory, nervous, and gastrointestinal signs.  Mortality 
is up to 90 percent of exposed birds.  Commercial poultry, at this time, 
are not involved in the disease occurrence.  Investigations are ongoing and 
all figures are pending final validation.

The following are figures pertaining to the Newcastle disease situation in 
California:

Number of premises positive:  17
Number of contacts:   19
Number of premises quarantined: 78
Number of premises depopulated: 31
Premises waiting to be depopulated: 5
Birds depopulated to date:  8043 (approximate)

Counties with Positive Flocks: Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino

State and federal animal health officials are conducting door-to-door 
surveys to identify fowl and other birds in the affected areas and are 
following up on all epidemiologic associations.  To date, depopulation, 
cleaning, 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.

The Newcastle disease situation is contained and is still considered a 
single outbreak cluster within a 30-mile radius in Los Angeles County and 
along the Los Angeles/Riverside/San Bernardino County border.

Affected and exposed backyard poultry are being euthanized, double-bagged, 
the bags disinfected, and the carcasses transported to restricted landfills 
for burial.

All door-to-door surveillance, along with interviews, has established that 
there have been no links to eastern States within the United States and no 
exposure to other backyard poultry in other States.

Local commercial table egg layer birds are being closely monitored and will 
only be allowed to move intrastate under CDFA monitoring and spent-hen 
movements restricted to the day they are scheduled for processing.

Please forward this information to your federal, State, and industry 
counterparts as necessary.

If you have questions about this situation please feel free to call USDA, 
APHIS, Veterinary Services, Emergency Programs at 301-734-8073 or e-mail:
<EMOC@APHIS.USDA.GOV>

--
Thomas E Walton
<Thomas.E.Walton@usda.gov>

******
[2]
Date: 26 Oct 2002
From: Pablo Nart <p.nart@virgin.net>
Source SFGate.com [edited]
<http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2002/10/26/MN142024.DTL>


The State of Californa, along with federal agriculture officials attempting 
to contain a month-old outbreak of a deadly bird virus known as Exotic 
Newcastle disease, have euthanized more than 8000 birds in Southern 
California, including thousands of chickens and dozens of household pet birds.

The devastating infection has not yet spread to California's commercial 
poultry operations, most of which are in Northern California, but Canada, 
Taiwan, Poland, and Korea already have banned imports of most poultry 
products from the state. The European Union has imposed an embargo on live 
poultry, hatching  eggs, and fresh meat from poultry and game birds from 
the United States until the infection is brought under control, officials said.

Officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the US 
Department of Agriculture (USDA) have established an emergency Newcastle 
disease task force on a military training base in Los Alamitos, about 30 
miles south of Los Angeles.

The group now includes 171 officials to inspect hundreds of homes and small 
farms in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino County, where the 
infection is feared to have spread. So far, 73 premises have been 
quarantined in an effort to contain the virus.

Dr. Richard Breitmeyer, the state of California's chief veterinarian, said 
he has seen hopeful signs in recent days that the spread of the infestation 
is slowing, although he is far from ready to declare it contained.

"We're not finding a lot of cases of massive die-offs," Breitmeyer said. 
"Those occurred 2 to 3 weeks ago when birds were literally dying in front 
of our eyes."

He said he has been startled by the number of people in the Los Angeles 
megalopolis who keep chickens and other fowl on their property as pets or 
sources of food.

"The sheer volume of these backyard birds has been eye-opening to us," 
Breitmeyer said. "Some of these birds, including chickens, are like pets to 
these people."

A private veterinarian in Compton, a low-income suburb of Los Angeles, 
first spotted the disease late in September 2002. A client brought in a 
sick chicken with symptoms similar to those of Newcastle disease: sneezing, 
runny beak, weight loss, and lethargy.

The chicken soon died and was submitted to the state lab for testing, where 
it came back positive for Newcastle. State animal health experts quickly 
moved to try to assess the extent of the infection and began door-to-door 
inspections of homes and farms raising birds.

Newcastle disease devastated California's poultry industry in the early 
1970s, when 12 million birds were destroyed. The disease was traced to 
imported parrots and macaws from Central and South America, which came in 
contact with birds from nearby commercial poultry operations. Since then, 
federal agriculture officials have set up inspection and quarantine 
stations at the borders to try to keep diseased birds out. However, wild 
birds and smuggled exotic species and fighting cocks occasionally arrive 
carrying the virus. The disease is often transmitted at bird shows, 
cockfights and swap meets and can be carried by humans, although it does 
not make people sick.

In that regard, it is like foot-and-mouth disease, which is debilitating to 
livestock but has little effect on humans, Breitmeyer said. The response by 
the authorities is similar: Kill all the diseased animals and any that 
might have come in contact with them, then quarantine the premises until 
the virus is eradicated by disinfectants. Breitmeyer said it had not been 
determined how the disease entered California this time.

Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, said he has 
warned member farmers to impose stringent biosecurity measures at their 
poultry ranches, disinfecting workers when they arrive and leave and giving 
them laundered coveralls for each shift. Still, he said, migratory birds 
can transmit Newcastle disease, and there's no assurance that it will not 
spread northward to California's $2.5 billion poultry industry, with 
catastrophic economic results.

"When Newcastle gets into a commercial flock, you might as well kill them 
all," he said.

--
ProMED-mail
<promed@promedmail.org>

[see also:
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (03) 20021019.5603
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (02) 20021012.5533
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA): OIE       20021004.5468]
..............................tg/pg/mpp

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