Exotic Newcastle disease contained in Texas, New Mexico

June 4, 2003 (CIDRAP News) – A quarantine on poultry and pet birds in the El Paso, Tex., area is expected to be lifted in the wake of a recent finding that exotic Newcastle disease (END) did not spread beyond the backyard flock where it turned up in April, according to Texas and New Mexico officials.

The quarantine was imposed on five counties in Texas and neighboring New Mexico Apr 10 after the disease was discovered in a flock in El Paso.

"After testing more than 800 backyard flocks in El Paso and surrounding counties, regulatory veterinarians say they have sufficient scientific evidence that there is no additional END infection in the area," the Texas Animal Health Commission and New Mexico Livestock Board stated in a news release May 28.

Texas officials have asked the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to lift the quarantine of poultry and pet birds in the area, said Texas State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Hillman. He expressed a hope that the ban will be ended within a few days. Poultry and pet birds now may be moved within the affected counties, but they may not be moved out of the counties until the federal quarantine is lifted, Hillman said. The counties include El Paso and Hudspeth in Texas and Dona Anna, Luna, and Otero in New Mexico.

Hillman said a small area around the site of the original END outbreak in El Paso County will remain under quarantine until mid-October to ensure that the virus is eliminated and to meet requirements related to international trade.

Elsewhere, restrictions aimed at END in Arizona and Nevada have been eased in recent weeks, but seven counties remain under quarantine in southern California, where a major END outbreak has prompted the destruction of nearly 3.5 million birds since last October.

USDA announced the reduction of quarantine areas in Nevada and Arizona in mid-May. In Nevada, Clark County and southern Nye County were quarantined Jan 17 after END was detected in some backyard poultry in Las Vegas. The restriction was removed in Nye County and part of Clark County as of May 14, according to a May 19 Federal Register notice. Authorities found 10 infected premises, all in Clark County, in surveillance across the state. The area still under quarantine is immediately around the outbreak site in Las Vegas, according to state agriculture officials.

In Arizona, the discovery of END in backyard poultry prompted a quarantine in La Paz and Yuma counties and part of Mohave County in early February. Investigations throughout Arizona turned up no additional END cases outside the original site, the USDA said. The agency lifted the quarantine for Mohave and Yuma counties and part of La Paz County as of May 14, according to the Federal Register notice.

In California, poultry and pet birds are still under quarantine in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties and part of Kern County. The Kern County area was added after END was found in backyard poultry there in early May, according to the USDA.

Birds on 2,418 premises, including 22 commercial poultry farms, have been destroyed in the California containment effort, according to the latest END update from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Authorities have released 2,596 premises from quarantine, but 17,638 premises remain quarantined. Some 3.49 million birds have been destroyed, up from 3.45 million in early April.

See also:

News release from Texas Animal Health Commission and New Mexico Livestock Board

May 19 Federal Register notice about END quarantines


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