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Published Date: 2018-12-29 12:37:53
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (17): (CA)
Archive Number: 20181229.6226472
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 21 Dec 2018
Source: USDA APHIS [edited]

During the week of 14-20 Dec 2018, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed 17 additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease (vND) in Riverside County, California. This includes 16 cases in backyard exhibition birds [a euphemism for fighting cocks - Mod.JH] and one commercial case (which we previously announced on 15 Dec 2018) [posted on ProMED-mail: Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (16): (CA) commercial 20181223.6220581].

Affected flocks are quickly euthanized. Together, these actions will help us prevent additional disease spread and eradicate the disease more quickly.

USDA is announcing confirmed vND cases weekly. Cases are still being tested and confirmed as they are identified. If there is a finding in a new state or a different segment of industry, the USDA will issue an announcement for that case immediately, as we did for this week's commercial case. A complete list of confirmed cases are available on our website at <www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/vnd>.

vND has not been found in commercial poultry in the US since 2003. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Signs are usually mild and limited to conjunctivitis. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.

Samples from the flocks were tested at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS). The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms all findings. APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to these findings and to conduct an epidemiological investigation. Federal and state partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or USDA's toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at Biosecurity for Birds.

Communicated by:

[Surely the USDA has had a difficult time rooting out some of the infected backyard flocks, and now the disease has spread to a commercial flock, which has been depopulated (see 20181223.6220581). However, this situation has been ongoing for nearly a year. It feels like we are headed down the same path as in 2003.

Although I appreciate the difficult situation the USDA is in, and the fact no producer, big or small, welcomes depopulation, getting this disease under control is important or more birds will die or be euthanized, and more individuals will be affected by the loss of their birds.

The following editorial from Chick-cite (http://chick-cite.com/; 24 Dec 2018) summarizes the situation and expresses how poultry producers and other poultry industry individuals feel about the situation. - Mod.TG

"Editorial: Is there any end to California vvND on the horizon?" [abridged, edited - Mod.JH]

"EGG-NEWS, along with about 350 concerned producers and affiliates of the US poultry industry, listened in on the joint USDA-APHIS / California Department of Food and Agriculture (CADFA) conference call on velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND) [now called exotic Newcastle disease - Mod.TG] on Monday [17 Dec 2018]. Although Dr. Jack Shere of APHIS stated the goal of APHIS was complete eradication, there does not appear to be any firm plan to achieve freedom from this infection.

"Can we afford to be complacent when the weekly incidence rate is still increasing? Should we be unconcerned with more than 230 individual confirmed cases over 8 months? Is extension from the backyard and gamefowl reservoir to a commercial flock not a wake-up call? As an industry, do we not deserve a comprehensive factual report on the epidemiology of the exotic infection indicating source and molecular characterization of the virus, mode of spread and a specific plan for eradication? If this is impossible in the short term, how do the authorities plan on achieving effective suppression of vvND?

"To any poultry heath professional it is evident that there are 2 spatially and temporally associated outbreaks in progress affecting distinctly separate populations of chickens. The infection must now be regard as endemic in the population of gamefowl (fighting cocks) euphemistically referred to as 'backyard' and 'exhibition flocks.' To date, only a single commercial flock representing the 2nd population has been affected. This is attributed to proximity to the endemic population, but given sufficient time and opportunity, additional outbreaks are highly likely.

"The incidence rate, distribution and persistence of the outbreak invalidates the term END where the 'E' stands for exotic. That there are not more cases reported is attributed to the secretive nature of cockfighting, an illegal activity. A 2nd factor is that the population has been vaccinated to attain a variable level of population immunity. From May to November of this year [2018], the CADFA simply confirmed reported cases with depletion of small flocks and maintaining a running tally of outbreaks and their location. In November [2018], a pre-emptive depletion policy in 4 locations among 4 contiguous counties was announced. This policy is an overt incentive for owners of valuable birds to disperse them to other locations, thus spreading the infection.

"The CADFA and APHIS have pussy-footed around the reality of a widely dispersed population of susceptible and semi-immunized flocks located in clusters and subject to periodic movement as part of an illegal ongoing activity. The sociocultural aspects of cockfighting have apparently created a hands-off approach, despite the risks to the established commercial industry with regard to direct infection and trade sanctions [While this comment accounts for the risk to the poultry industry, it fails to rationalize or monetize the risks involved to those being asked to test and potentially depopulate the backyard fowl, as cockfighting is often not the only illegal activity occurring in the area. It also fails to acknowledge the monetary value of some of these birds and how that value drives owner interaction with governmental authorities. - Mod.JH]. Would the approach have been more focused and aggressive if an exotic zoonotic infection such as H5 or H7 avian influenza transmissible to humans were involved?

"Absent a detailed epidemiologic study to define risk factors and the mode of transmission of vvND in gamefowl in the 4-county area, CADFA can neither prepare alternative plans to eradicate the infection nor evaluate programs based on projected cost and probability of success. In the short term, establishing solid immunity in the risk population by intensive vaccination appears beneficial if the number of susceptible flocks is reduced to below the outbreak threshold and then subsequently to under the endemic threshold. Certainly owners would be more likely to cooperate with authorities to preserve their flocks than simply allow them to be killed.

"The commercial poultry population has the obligation to apply effective biosecurity other than the 'feel good' approach. This requires investment in structural and operational measures commensurate with the risk and consequences of infection. The outbreaks of HPAI in 2015 followed by sporadic cases since the epornitic and the single Riverside County case on 14 Dec [2018] indicate deficiencies in establishing barriers to introduction of infection onto commercial poultry farms. [The wide spread of H5N8 and H5N6 in the eastern hemisphere would indicate the lack of poultry biosecurity isn't solely a US problem. - Mod.JH].

"Participants in the conference call on 17 Dec 2018 expressed gratitude to the CADFA and APHIS for a rapid response to the vvND outbreak in the affected pullet flock both with respect to diagnosis and depopulation. This may not have been necessary had the rolling outbreak in gamefowl flocks been eradicated months ago and if the farm in question had applied effective biosecurity."

HealthMap/ProMED-mail map:
California, United States: http://healthmap.org/promed/p/204]

See Also

Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (16): (CA) commercial 20181223.6220581
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (15): (CA) virulent strain, more cases 20181009.6081214
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (14): (CA) OIE 20180928.6059202
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (13): (CA) virulent strain 20180829.5995753
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (12): (CA) more cases 20180813.5963560
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (11): (CA) more flocks 20180720.5917059
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (10): (CA) more flocks 20180719.5914905
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (09): (CA) comment 20180719.5913509
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (08): (CA) more cases 20180717.5911222
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (07): (CA) more cases 20180714.5905906
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (06): (CA) more cases 20180711.5899518
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (05): (CA) virulent strain 20180623.5871359
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (04): (CA) more cases 20180607.5844854
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (03): (CA) more cases 20180604.5838532
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA (02): (CA) more cases 20180601.5832993
Newcastle disease, poultry - USA: (CA) virulent strain 20180518.5804931
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (CA) (10) 20030227.0494
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (west) (02) 20030211.0372
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (west) 20030206.0318
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (CA) (09): corr. 20030221.0454
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (CA) (09) 20030219.0434
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (CA) (08) 20030211.0373
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (CA) (07) 20030210.0361
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) (06) 20030209.0353
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) (05) 20030117.0145
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) (04) 20030116.0129
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) (03) 20030108.0060
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) (02) 20030104.0021
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) 20030103.0014
Newcastle disease, game fowl, plty. - USA (CA, NV) (02) 20030204.0304
Newcastle disease, game fowl, poultry - USA (CA, NV) 20030127.0246
Newcastle disease, game birds, poultry - USA (CA) 20021228.6147
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (11) 20021221.6104
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (10) 20021216.6077
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (09) 20021208.6014
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (08) 20021203.5958
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (07) 20021125.5893
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (06) 20021112.5780
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (05) 20021101.5689
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (04) 20021026.5646
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (03) 20021019.5603
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA) (02) 20021012.5533
Newcastle disease, game birds - USA (CA): OIE 20021004.5468

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