A rooster brought into a veterinary clinic in Redwood City tested positive for Virulent Newcastle disease, the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Animal health Division confirmed Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Formerly known as exotic Newcastle disease, Virulent Newcastle disease does not pose a risk to human health. It is, however, highly contagious and fatal disease for poultry, and is presently under eradication in Southern California after being found there last year.
After interviewing the owner, it was determined the bird was brought over from the East Bay, shifting the focus of the investigation to Alameda County. Why the bird was brought to Redwood City is a matter of speculation, but local and state agriculture officials do not believe Virulent Newcastle disease is present in San Mateo County.
Though local poultry operations in San Mateo County are small and relatively isolated, the Redwood City incident is a reminder to its vulnerability. Alerts have been sent to poultry and egg producers, but anyone with poultry — chickens, turkey’s, ducks, geese, etc. — should be observant regarding the health of their birds. They should purchase birds only from legitimate and reputable hatcheries and breeding operations, implement quarantine protocols before introducing new birds into flocks, and employ biosecurity measures as Virulent Newcastle disease can be carried long distances by waterfowl and other susceptible birds. Do not transport any poultry , unless you have confirmed it is not an area under quarantine.
For more information, contact San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner Fred Crowder or refer to the Virulent Newcastle Disease FAQs (hyperlink above). Those suspecting a flock may be affected, please call the Sick Bird Hotline at 866-922-2473