WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that the agency is moving into a new phase when it comes to handling virulent Newcastle disease (vND) in southern California.

Following vND outbreaks in backyard exhibition birds since 2018, APHIS said it can now implement a prevention plan aimed at keeping vND from recurring in the region. Since there have been no new cases of vND since February 2020, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will remove the vND quarantine.

“APHIS and CDFA employees have worked tirelessly over the past two years toward this goal,” said Dr. Burke Healey, USDA chief veterinarian. “While this is a big accomplishment, we need to continue the work to educate bird owners and arm them with the knowledge and tools to prevent this from happening again.”

The new prevention plant will focus on disease monitoring and continual support for biosecurity training.

“We know that biosecurity practices work – they were essential in minimizing vND spread to commercial farms in the area and we’ve used them successfully in other poultry disease outbreaks,” APHIS said. “But these practices must be followed by anyone who owns or handles poultry. Southern California’s many backyard and commercial poultry owners alike must remain vigilant in protecting the health of their birds by ensuring biosecurity protocols are being followed every day, every time.”