State Lifts Newcastle Quarantine On West County Fowl Hosting Properties

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has rescinded the quarantine placed on hundreds of properties in north Chino, Ontario, Montclair, and Pomona that was brought on as result of an outbreak of Newcastle disease.
Newcastle disease, which resulted in the extermination of millions of chickens in San Bernardino County in the 1970s, reappeared in the region in May. State agricultural officials, concerned that the scattered manifestation of the condition was a harbinger of a potential repeat of what occurred more than four decades ago, were obliged to impose the quarantine, by which residents and especially poultry farmers and egg ranchers at the west end of San Bernardino County and one property on the extreme east side Los Angeles County area were prohibited from removing their birds from their properties or bringing any further fowl into the area. On 35 of the properties, consisting primarily of farms which featured ornamental or display birds such as peacocks, euthanizations occurred over the last five-and-a-half months after 150 such birds tested positive for Newcastle. Some 34,000 birds have been euthanized since the outbreak was first spotted. Locally, the outbreak is confined to the 35 properties between Mission Boulevard, the Pomona Freeway, Garey Avenue and Mountain Avenue.
No birds on commercial farms, such as ones where chickens are kept for egg production, have been slaughtered, though some 800 properties where birds are known to be present were among those under quarantine.
Newcastle disease is a highly contagious viral bird disease affecting many domestic and wild avian species. While it is transmissible to humans, it manifests in relatively mild forms of conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, and influenza-like symptoms, seeming to pose no other significant hazard to human health.
Newcastle’s effects are most notable in domestic poultry due to their high susceptibility and the potential for widespread infestation on the poultry industry.
Newcastle typically results in swelling around a bird’s eyes, a purplish swelling of the wattle and comb, a large amount of fluid coming from the beak and nasal areas, a twisting of the neck and head, loss of appetite, green diarrhea, and sudden death. No treatment for Newcastle exists.
Transmission occurs by exposure to fecal and other excretions from infected birds, contact with contaminated food and water, as well as through human interaction as when a person moves infected birds, equipment or feed or by coming into contact with unaffected birds while wearing the same clothing or shoes worn when that person had contact with infected areas.
Residents at those 35 properties where the exterminations were carried out are under order to not bring in any new birds onto them for 120 days from the time their birds were euthanized. The virus may potentially linger for multiple weeks in the area where any infected birds were located.
Agriculture officials were recently in Chino to provide informational briefings to chicken ranch owners and farmers. Ranchers have been told that if the number of birds infected reaches what agricultural and public health authorities deem a critical tipping point, blanket euthanizations of commercial flocks where birds have yet to test positive for the virus will be ordered to arrest the spread of the disease, which can occur extremely rapidly.

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