Newcastle disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects chickens and other captive and wild birds.
All chicks sold at C.W. Feed are Newcastle disease FREE! Click here for 2019 delivery dates.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) report that since May 2018, 299 cases of Newcastle disease have been confirmed in Southern California, primarily in backyard exhibition birds. Outbreaks have been reported as close as Norco.
Humans aren’t normally affected, but people in direct contact with infected birds may develop a very short-term eye infection, which passes without treatment.
Besides sudden death, clinical signs of the disease include sneezing; gasping for air; nasal discharge; coughing; greenish, watery diarrhea; decreased activity; tremors; drooping wings; twisting of the head and neck; circling; complete stiffness; and swelling around the eyes and neck, the release states.
The disease is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids of infected birds, especially their feces.
It can also be spread indirectly through people and objects that have been in contact with infected birds, or their excretions (such as feces). Objects that can carry the disease include, vehicles, equipment, clothing, water and feed.
APHIS notes that no human cases of the disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products and that properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.
The use of personal protective equipment can easily prevent infection in humans. For bird owners, it's essential that they follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases, including washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering the poultry area; cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off of the property; and isolating birds that are returning from shows for 30 days before returning them to the flock.
Bird owners should also report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state and federal officials through their state veterinarian or through the USDA's toll-free number at (866)536-7593.
Find additional information about biosecurity for backyard flocks here.
Get a fact sheet from the USDA-APHIS here.