Positive Identification of Exotic Newcastle Disease – what does it mean for your birds?

You may have heard of the outbreak of Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) in Southern California that has been going on for months. Unfortunately, the disease was positively identified in Redwood City this week (March 12, 2019).

Sick Bird Hotline:

Who can be affected by END?

ALL species of birds. Poultry are most at risk however there are cases of parrot-type birds dying from this disease.

What signs are there?

  • Sneezing, gasping, nasal discharge, coughing
  • Greenish, watery diarrhea
  • Depression, muscular tremors, droopy wings, opisthotonus, circling, and complete paralysis
  • Partial to complete drop in egg production and thin-shelled eggs
  • Swelling of tissues around the eyes and in the neck
  • Sudden death
  • Increased flock mortality

Some birds may die with no signs of disease.

How do birds get it?

  • Infected birds can pass it through discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Contact with droppings from infected birds.
  • The virus can be carried from one premises to another on contaminated shoes and clothing of service crews and visitors and their contaminated vehicles.
  • END virus survives for several weeks in a warm and humid environment on feathers and in manure and other materials and can survive indefinitely in frozen material.

Two birds touching beaks. The bird on the left is a white and pink bird and the bird on the right is a green bird with a red and yellow beak

Can I vaccinate?

Currently the state does not recommend vaccination. It does not prevent a bird from getting END and may increase the spread of the disease by suppressing clinical signs in a sick bird.

I have poultry – what do I do?

Follow good biosecurity practices to help protect your birds from infectious diseases. These simple steps include:

  • Washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area
  • Cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off the property
  • Isolating any birds returning from shows for 30 days before placing them with the rest of the flock

If you have had recent deaths or have ill poultry, please contact the Sick Bird Hotline 866-922-2473. They will review your concerns and possibly send out a team to test your chickens and your homes.

Check out:

I have birds, but no poultry – what do I do?

  • Avoid contact with backyard flocks or their homes.
  • Avoid farms.
  • Practice good biosecurity (see above)