Exotic Newcastle disease battle ends

Sep 17, 2003 (CIDRAP News) – The last areas of California under quarantine for exotic Newcastle disease (END) were released yesterday, signaling the end of an 11-month, $160 million battle to control the highly infectious disease of poultry and other birds.

"Extensive testing of the regulated area has been completed, with no additional detections of the disease," the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) said in a news release. The announcement ends the ban on movement of poultry and other birds in the areas.

The last areas under quarantine included parts of Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) news release. The quarantine area originally encompassed 46,000 square miles, but the quarantine for all but 7,300 square miles was canceled Aug 4. The ban on poultry exhibitions throughout California has also been lifted.

END was detected in California last October. In January, Gov. Gray Davis declared a state of emergency over the disease. The fight to control it cost $160 million and included the destruction of more than 3 million birds at 2,148 sites, including 22 commercial poultry farms. More than 18,000 premises were under quarantine during the crisis. The last major END outbreak in California, in 1971, led to the slaughter of almost 12 million birds.

"We have eagerly anticipated this day and are extremely proud of the tireless work of the Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force," CDFA Secretary William J. Lyons Jr. said in the news release. He praised the work of veterinarians from the CDFA, the USDA, and Baja California, and thanked other state, federal, and local agencies and the University of California for their help in controlling the disease.

The CDFA said it will continue a monitoring program and urged all poultry owners to routinely check birds for signs of illness, report any suspected diseases, and take steps to prevent the introduction of disease.

The USDA said an interim rule ending the quarantine will be published Sep 19 in the Federal Register. USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service documents published in the Federal Register, along with related information, are available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html.

A few counties in Arizona and Nevada also had END quarantines last winter after cases were detected there, and some counties in Texas and New Mexico were quarantined last spring after cases were found in the El Paso area. Those quarantines all were canceled previously.

END is usually fatal for poultry, but it poses no threat to public health and does not affect the safety of poultry or eggs as food.

See also:

USDA news release
http://www.usda.gov/documents/NewsReleases/2003/09/0321.doc

CDFA END page
http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/ah/Newcastle_info.htm

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