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Newcastle Disease Prevention Workshop in California


Poultry health professionals from California representing the Department of Agriculture, the University of California at Davis and representatives from commercial-level producers met in Dublin, CA to review measures to prevent extension of Newcastle disease from backyard flocks to commercial farms. The program was hosted by the California Poultry Federation with the participation of Foster Farms as the major broiler and turkey integrator in the state. Topics covered included biosecurity, clinical recognition of Newcastle disease and control measures


It is estimated that there are 100,000 backyard chicken flocks throughout the State but with a high concentration in the three counties surrounding Los Angeles.  In contrast he majority of commercial flocks are in the Central Valley and northern counties.


Currently quarantines are in effect in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties although there is an obvious question as to the durability of enforcement given that fighting cocks are involved.

California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones stressed the importance of collaboration although with more than 420 cases in backyard flocks and three on commercial farms over 11 months, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has been less than effective in controlling a potentially catastrophic infection. 


EGG-NEWS reasserts that epidemiologic evidence suggest that the disease is endemic in the game fowl (fighting cock) population of southern California and that the three spatially related cases on commercial farms represented spill-over, facilitated by defective biosecurity.  Until the owners of game fowl and the relatively few backyard and pet flocks create a solidly immune population, “pop-up” cases will continue, whether reported or not with the danger of extension to large broiler, turkey and egg-producing complexes.