USDA Confirms Additional Cases of Virulent Newcastle Disease in Backyard Birds in California

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During the week of December 14-20, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed seventeen additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease in Riverside County, California.  This includes 16 cases in backyard exhibition birds and one commercial case (which we previously announced on December 15).

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, 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

Virulent Newcastle disease has not been found in commercial poultry in the United States since 2003.  

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.  Symptoms are usually very 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 & 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.