Virulent Newcastle disease, formerly known as exotic Newcastle disease, is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs.
Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can become infected with mild symptoms, such as conjunctivitis. These are easily prevented with personal protective equipment.
For more information on keeping your birds safe, go to Defend the Flock Program
*On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) certifies that the United States of America (U.S.A.) has satisfied the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) criteria for eradication of virulent Newcastle disease (vND) from poultry as defined by the OIE and exhibition birds. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and USDA have announced an end to the vND quarantine in Southern California. The State quarantine for VND encompassed Los Angeles, western Riverside, and western San Bernardino Counties, an area where millions of commercial and backyard poultry live. This action once again allows poultry to move freely within California without a CDFA permit. All necessary actions and surveillance requirements have been completed in accordance with the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code with no further detections of the disease. The virus has been completely stamped out and there are no further infected zones. All restrictive measures in relation to vND in the U.S.A. have therefore been lifted. The USDA APHIS, now considers the vND event officially closed and resolved.
Between May 17, 2018 and May 31, 2020, USDA confirmed 476 positive premises in California as infected with vND, including 4 commercial premises. These positive premises were found in six counties, including 263 in Riverside County, 164 in San Bernardino County, 46 in Los Angeles County, 1 in Ventura County, 1 in Alameda County, and 1 in San Diego County. USDA also confirmed 1 infected premises in Utah County, Utah and 1 infected premises in Coconino County, Arizona, both linked to birds that were moved from the quarantine area in California.