|Virulent Newcastle Disease
Newcastle Disease (VND) detected in
Los Angeles County
The US Department of Agriculture
(USDA), California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)
and local officials are working together to conduct targeted
surveillance, diagnostic testing for VND, and control of the
disease in the area.
The first detection of VND in Southern
California earlier this year occurred on May 18, 2018, when
the CDFA confirmed an outbreak in a small group of backyard
chickens in LA County. An extensive investigation was
initiated at the time, and VND was not detected in any other
chickens in LA County in the subsequent two months. However,
the virus was found to be causing outbreaks in chickens in
San Bernardino and Riverside Counties during that time. Federal,
state and local officials continue to working together to
conduct additional surveillance and testing in all three
All bird owners and veterinarians are
advised to learn about VND, and how to protect birds.
It is important to note that VND is not a food safety
concern. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.
What is Virulent
Newcastle Disease (VND)?
Virulent Newcastle Disease (aka VND,
Exotic Newcastle Disease, END) is caused by a highly
contagious virus that can infect poultry and many other
species of birds, including parrots. It can cause severe
disease and death in birds.
How do birds catch
VND is highly contagious between birds.
Birds that are infected shed the virus in their nasal
secretions, eye secretions and feces. Infected birds contaminate
their cage, bowls, and environment with the virus. Birds catch
it by having direct
contact with other birds that have it, or by having contact
objects that were contaminated with the virus. People can
accidentally spread VND to other birds on their clothing or by sharing equipment with other bird owners.
What are the symptoms in VND in birds?
The symptoms of VND in birds can be highly
variable and depend on the species of bird. Most infected
birds become lethargic, lose their appetite, and have
diarrhea. Chickens are more likely to have additional
symptoms such as swelling of the eyelids, oozing of fluids
from the nose and mouth, difficulty breathing, and sudden
neurologic signs such as paralysis of the wings or a twisted
neck are also seen. The incubation period for VND is between
2-15 days (i.e. how long it takes for the symptoms to start
after a bird is exposed to it).
Can humans catch VND?
In humans, VND can occasionally cause an
infection of the eyelids (conjunctivitis) in people if an
infected bird coughs on a person's face, or a person touches
their eyes after touching bird with VND. For most people,
the conjunctivitis will go away without treatment, however,
a doctor should be consulted if the symptoms are severe or
persistent. Human infection can be prevented by hand washing
after handling birds, and by wearing eye protection when
handling sick birds. VND is not spread to people through
meat or eggs - it is not a food safety concern.
How can I prevent
VND in my birds?
Practice good biosecurity.
This means taking precautions to prevent bringing in a virus
accidentally into your flock.
Learn more about biosecurity for birds (USDA).
Keep your bird
Watch for illness
in birds. If any of your birds show
any signs of illness, talk to your avian
If you get a new bird, make sure you know
where it came from - request documentation
from the seller about where the bird
originated. Keep the new bird away from your
other birds for at least 30 days, to make
sure it stays healthy. Have your
veterinarian examine the new bird. Wash your
hands after handling the new bird or its
cage and equipment before handling your
Do not borrow
equipment. If you must borrow
equipment or buy used equipment, make sure
it is scrubbed thoroughly clean with
detergent and water, rinsed, disinfected
(contact time with disinfectant at least 10
minutes), rinsed again, and then dried
thoroughly before using it for your birds.
Many disinfectants are toxic to birds - make
sure you use disinfectant in a
well-ventilated place, far from you birds.
Do not spread
bird diseases on your hands or clothing.
If you are around other people's
birds, wash your hands, disinfect your
shoes, and change your clothing before
handling your birds.
Updates and Information on Virulent
Newcastle Disease from Agricultural Agencies
Newcastle Disease Cases in Los Angeles County
Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) in birds is a reportable
condition in Los Angeles County
as well as in California and in the United States, in general.
In Los Angeles
County, report suspected or confirmed cases of VND in birds
using this form. You can also
report a case of VND online
by using this
portal. Case information
will be shared with the California Department of Food and
Brochures on Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND)
from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Virulent Newcastle Disease - English
Enfermedad de Newcastle virulento - Spanish
Last updated: January 23, 2019