Recently the U.S. department of agriculture’s department of Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) is facing the challenge of a deadly and contagious disease called the Virulent Newcastle disease. This was initially diagnosed at backyard poultry but has now developed and reached the viable groups in California.

However the USDA officials have clarified that only humans working with sick birds might get infected from this in rare conditions. The risk of getting Virulent Newcastle from consuming poultry foodstuffs that is properly cooked is very less.  Since May 2018, the number of Virulent Newcastle infections of birds in California have grown and the APHIS and California Department of Food and Agriculture have tried to identify and restrict the reason of disease. Lately the bird kill has been restricted to backyard flocks, before this almost 60, 000 birds were killed.

A report published on 16th Dec, 2018, by the APHIS mentioned that there was virulent Newcastle disease present in the marketable flock of 110,000 numbers of chickens aged at 6-week-old in Riverside County, CA. These reports submitted to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) are compulsory and given at regular intervals. Furthermore, On Jan. 8, APHIS the presence of Virulent Newcastle disease was detected and reported in another batch of marketable layer of group in South California. Post two days immediately a third infected marketable group was diagnosed and reported. All these are part of the Southern California as backyard display birds centered in the Riverside County.

In humans symptoms that can be observed are generally mild conjunctivitis or flu like symptoms. These are controlled and prevented with the use of standard personal defensive gear to be worn and used. There is an ongoing investigation and testing in southern California, by inspection of neighboring commercial farms and increase biosecurity steps to help in prevention of spreading of disease.

With respect to birds, especially chickens, Virulent Newcastle is extremely contagious and causes a deadly viral disease that affect the main body systems like respiratory, digestive and nervous system. Often the symptoms are noticed post death and the chances on unvaccinated flock of being effected is almost 100%.

The APHIS is working towards eradication of the disease before it becomes more fatal.