Virulent Newcastle Disease (vND) is a poultry disease that has not been seen in California since 2002. It has recently re-emerged and represents a serious threat to backyard and commercial flocks. UC Cooperative Extension specialist Maurice Pitesky, who is affiliated with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, says:
“The current outbreak is particularly concerning, because the most recent case in Alameda County demonstrates that the disease can spread anywhere. The disease has never spread this far north before. The disease is being primarily spread among backyard birds and has ‘spilled over’ into several commercial farms in Southern California.”
More than 350 cases have been confirmed in Southern California alone. Cases have been seen in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Alameda counties. Ventura and Alameda counties have each had a single confirmed case. Dr. Pitesky reports that there are an estimated 100,000 backyard poultry premises in California, so there is wide susceptibility to Newcastle.