News Details

California Department of Food and Agriculture Detects Virulent Newcastle Disease in Norco

The City of Norco has been notified by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Ontario District that virulent Newcastle disease (VND) has been detected in a small flock of backyard chickens in Norco.

CDFA has quarantined the potentially exposed birds. In addition, all feed stores in Norco have been quarantined and restricted from having birds on-site until further notice. CDFA is working with federal and local partners, as well as poultry owners, to respond to the detection.

CDFA strongly recommends that the following preventive actions be implemented immediately:

  • Bring all pet birds inside your residence.
  • Collect all loose birds, including feral birds, on your property, and restrict movement by cooping them in a shelter to avoid the spread of disease.
  • Enhance rodent control and implement a flea and tick control program on all animals on your property. Rodents, fleas, ticks and chicken mites have been known to cause viral spread with this highly contagious form of Newcastle disease.

It is imperative that all poultry owners follow proper biosecurity practices to protect Norco’s birds from infectious diseases. These measures include washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area, cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving off the property, and isolating any birds returning from shows for 30 days before placing them with the rest of the flock.

To report sick birds or unusual bird deaths, call California’s Sick Bird Hotline at 866-922-BIRD (2473). For more information on virulent Newcastle disease, contact the California Department of Food and Agriculture Ontario Division at (909) 947-4462 or visit

For more information on biosecurity for backyard flocks, contact the Norco Animal Shelter at (951) 737-8972 or, or visit

About Virulent Newcastle Disease 

Virulent Newcastle disease, formerly known as exotic Newcastle disease, is a highly contagious and deadly virus in birds. The virus is found in respiratory discharges and feces. Clinical signs in birds include sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, green watery diarrhea, depression, paralysis, decreased egg production, swelling around eyes and neck, and sudden death. Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild and are limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.