Exotic Newcastle Disease
Transmission, Prevention, Biosecurity
END Prevention Past Outbreaks Current Outbreak Links & Contacts Home
History - Previous Outbreaks
END was first diagnosed in the United States in California in 1950 among chukars and pheasants imported from Hong Kong. The infection, which spread to five poultry farms in Contra Costa County, was quickly eliminated through the destruction of the infected chickens.
In 1971-1973, a major outbreak occurred in commercial poultry flocks in southern California. Poor security at a bird importer's premises led to contact between infected parrots from South America and neighboring commercial poultry. The disease spread rapidly within the Southern California commercial poultry population. Vaccination was widely used, but was not effective until aggressive destruction of infected birds and improved biosecurity were in place.
The disease threatened not only the California poultry industry but the entire U.S. poultry and egg supply. In all, 1,341 infected flocks were identified, and almost 12 million birds were destroyed. Eradication efforts cost taxpayers $56 million, severely disrupted the operations of many producers, and increased the prices of poultry and poultry products to consumers. Exotic Newcastle has not infected commercial chicken flocks in the United States since that outbreak was eradicated in 1974.
Exotic Newcastle Disease is also a serious threat to the caged bird industry. An END outbreak in caged birds in Florida in 1980 resulted in the death of approximately 8,000 birds and the depopulation of 30,307 birds in 23 states. It cost the USDA over $1 million.
In 1998, END was introduced into a small California flock of game fowl by a bird purchased from a local swap meet. The flock was quarantined and destroyed. Surveillance was completed on all backyard flocks in the area with no further infection detected.
END is considered to be worldwide in distribution except for Canada, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. Commercial poultry have not been involved in the United States since 1974, until now. However, new outbreaks continue to occur in the pet bird industry. These outbreaks are mainly due to illegally imported psittacine birds. A limited number of outbreaks have occurred in small "backyard" flocks, containing fighting game cocks, and have been caused by the illegal importation of this type of chicken.
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Designed by: Carol Highfill ---- Last update: February 15, 2003