Chickens on a farm in California
Chickens on a farm in California. Courtesy UC Davis

Virulent Newcastle disease that kills poultry and pet birds was detected in San Diego County this weekend, reportedly at a property in Ramona.

Friday’s detection was identified when a private veterinarian submitted dead birds to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, according to state veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.

Response team members from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working through the Labor Day weekend on control measures, including restriction of bird movement, mandatory euthanasia of infected and exposed birds, and surveillance testing near the property where infection was detected.

“We are moving quickly to investigate the origin of disease as well as any movement of birds or equipment that could carry infection,” Jones said in a statement.

Detections of the disease have decreased greatly over the last few months, she said.

“Our priority remains to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease,” Jones said. “We have made significant progress toward this goal by identifying and clearing remaining pockets of disease.”

“But this case reminds all bird owners in Southern California to remain aware of VND signs,” she added, “practice good biosecurity, stop illegal movement of birds from property to property, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline, 866-922-2473.”

— From Staff and Wire Reports

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.