Samples are carried out in birds of LA and Inland Empire to eradicate the virus, experts say

After an outbreak of Newcastle Virulent Disease (VND) was announced a few months ago, which affects poultry, health authorities confirm that the quarantine is still in force.

The response team to the VND, composed of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has already begun the steps to get to the stage of "Being Free of the Disease" .

In this part, the birds are observed and tested to detect and immediately eradicate any signs of infection.

Fortunately, so far there have been no new detection of VND since September, "but you should not lower your guard," experts say.

Ricardo Gaitán, a CDFA veterinarian, said sampling is being done in various places to eradicate the disease.

These areas include the cities of Compton and Whittier in Los Angeles County; in Riverside County the areas of Eastvale, Menifee, Mira Loma, Jurupa Valley, Norco, New, Perris and the city of Riverside; and in San Bernardino County, Chino, Fontana, Hesperia, Highland, Ontario and Muscoy.

Newcastle is a rare bird disease caused by a virus. The cases detected have occurred in veterinary doctors or in employees of farms or laboratories that work with infected animals and do not clean their hands or do not use nose and eye protection.

"This causes conjunctivitis where your eye turns red," Gaitán explained. "Normally you take it off alone but it is advisable to go with a doctor to recommend some ointment."

Owners Participation

Authorities said that performing a sufficient number of negative tests in the community will help the VDN meet international standards to demonstrate that California can be declared free of this disease and allow regional quarantine to be lifted.

This phase will take place in the coming months, taking into account that if a case is detected, it could create a setback to this process.

Gaitán said that the more bird owners are willing to have their animals checked, the sooner the sampling could end, but he did not give an exact date when this could happen.

"It is important to mention that when you have birds you must have good cleaning and disinfection rules," said the veterinarian. "It's easy to prevent (Newcastle) as long as you have a good cleaning practice."

He also recommended that at the moment bird owners do not move them from their places where they live because if they are infected they could affect other areas.

Newcastle sick animals suffer a lot, they produce a lot of mucus, they breathe with their beaks open, they change color, their nervous system is disturbed, they become depressed, they stop eating, they get diarrhea, they walk in circles, their neck and head are they twist, one or two legs are paralyzed and they die during the first three days.

The veterinarian Gaitán clarified that in the places where live chicken is sold they are not in danger since they are controlled by very rigorous programs.

"Chickens come from places that go through careful scrutiny by the Secure Food Supply," he said.

To report sick or dead birds call (866) 922-2473.

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