END Ruling in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture (LINK)
Massachusetts bans importation of California birds (LINK)
Bureau of Animal Health


Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) in California

The deadly avian disease known as Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) was diagnosed in backyard poultry in Los Angeles County, California in September of 2002, and the disease has been subsequently confirmed in birds in 3 commercial egg-laying facilities in California since mid-December, 2002.

Federal and California state quarantines were originally placed on all of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties and portions of Riverside and San Bernadino Counties. Because of the growing severity of the situation, on January 8, 2003, Governor Gray Davis of California extended the quarantine zone for END to include all of southern California.

Control efforts have not yet been successful in eliminating the disease in California birds. In fact, control efforts are currently being expanded due to the scope and seriousness of the situation and the threat that END poses to commercial and non-commercial poultry enterprises throughout the United States.

Even though California seems far away, we must be vigilant to prevent the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, the virus which causes the disease is highly contagious and resistant to destruction. It can survive for several weeks in warm and humid environments and can survive indefintely in frozen material. The virus is readily spread by contact with infected birds or materials contaminated with the causative virus which can include, among other things crates, feed, packing materials, and the shoes and clothing of individuals that come into contact with infected birds. Biosecurity is of the utmost importance in preventing the spread of this disease.

On January 14, 2003, Department of Food and Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Health ordered an importation ban declaring that no person shall import poultry, including game birds, or hatching eggs from California or that have transited through California, and that no person shall import birds customarily used for household pets from California or that have transited through California.

All poultry keepers in Massachusetts are asked to observe this ban and to spread the word among the bird-keeping community. With everyone's cooperation, we may be successful in keeping the disease out of the Commonwealth. However, there are no guarantees. In the event that END did enter Massachusetts our goal would be to ensure early detection, rapid diagnostic confirmation and a swift and effective response to contain and eliminate the disease.

Therefore, all poultry keepers in Massachusetts are urged to remain vigilant in observing their birds for unexpected signs of disease and to notify the Bureau of Animal Health immediately at 617-626-1795, so that a disease investigation can be carried out. For your own safety, the safety of your fellow poultry producers, and to protect the economic viability of the poultry industry, please do not move any sick birds off of your premises that have not been evaluated by qualified disease investigators.

Helpful information about END, its clinical signs and biosecurity measures that can be observed to reduce the risk of disease are available on the website of the California Department of Agriculture at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/ah/newcastle_info.htm

Thank you for your cooperation.

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