Exotic Newcastle disease turns up in West Texas

Apr 11, 2003 (CIDRAP News) – Exotic Newcastle disease (END) has been found in a backyard chicken flock near El Paso, Tex., prompting a ban on poultry movement in five Texas and New Mexico counties, Texas officials announced yesterday.

The finding makes Texas the fourth state in recent months to face an outbreak of the highly contagious and usually fatal disease, which does not affect humans. More than 3 million chickens have been killed in southern California since October 2002 in an effort to stop the END epidemic there, and cases have also been seen in Nevada and Arizona.

Tests confirmed the presence of END in the El Paso flock late on Apr 9, the Texas Animal Health Commission said in a news release. State and federal officials destroyed the flock earlier this week, but they are concerned that the virus may have spread to other birds in the area, the release said.

State authorities have banned bird and poultry movement in El Paso County, Tex., and Luna, Dona Ana, and Otero counties in New Mexico, Texas officials said. In addition, they said the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) was expected to impose a quarantine in those four counties plus Hudspeth County, Tex.

The disease was confirmed only in El Paso County as of Apr 9, said Bob Hillman, Texas state veterinarian. "However, the five counties quarantined in Texas and New Mexico are considered to be a trade area in which there is significant movement of birds and poultry. State and federal authority is being imposed so that disease surveillance, testing, and diagnosis can be conducted."

Hillman said the USDA is paying poultry owners fair market value for birds that must be destroyed.

California's Animal Health Branch reported that more than 3.45 million birds have been euthanized since the southern California END outbreak began. More than 16,209 sites, including 22 commercial poultry farms, have been quarantined, and poultry exhibitions have been banned statewide.

See also:

California Animal Health Branch END page

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