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Virulent Newcastle Disease: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Virulent Newcastle disease (VND)?

Virulent Newcastle Disease is a serious, highly contagious viral disease that can affect poultry and other birds.

Where is the virus found?

The virus is found in respiratory discharge and feces, and may cause high rates of sickness and death in susceptible birds. For poultry, chickens are most susceptible and ducks and geese are the least susceptible. Other birds may be infected, but may not show any symptoms and may still be able to spread the disease.

What are the symptoms of Virulent Newcastle Disease?

The symptoms are coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, swelling around eyes and neck, muscle tremors, circling, paralysis, depression, and sudden death.

How is Virulent Newcastle Disease spread?

VND spreads when healthy birds come in direct contact with bodily fluids from a sick bird. The disease affects almost all birds and poultry, even vaccinated poultry. The virus can travel on manure, egg flats, crates, other farming material or equipment, and people who have picked up the virus on their clothing, shoes, or hands.

Is Norco under quarantine?

Yes, as of February 27, 2019 there is a regional quarantine in effect for all of Los Angeles County, and large parts of western San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Norco is included as one of the quarantine areas in Riverside County.

How long will a quarantine remain in effect?

There is no way to know how long it will take to eradicate VND, or how long quarantines will remain in place. If your birds are euthanized, your property must remain clean, disease-free, and unpopulated with any birds (known as a follow period) for a minimum of 120 days. All quarantines must remain in place until a letter is received form the state veterinarian releasing the property, area, or region from the quarantine.

Does the California Department of Food & Agriculture have the right to enter my property and remove my birds?

Yes, the State California Agriculture Code, (FAC) 9562(3) and 9569(d), (e) grants the State Veterinarian authority to impose property quarantines and to euthanize and dispose of birds.

What will happen if I refuse to let anyone on my property from the California Department of Food & Agriculture?

The CDFA will get a warrant to enter your property and you may be cited. Furthermore, failure to comply with quarantine requirements may result in a fine (FAC 9166). If the violation causes VND to spread beyond the quarantine boundaries, the violator may be civilly liable for an amount not to exceed $25,000 for each act that constitutes a violation (FAC 9574).

How can I protect my birds?

The best way to protect your birds is by following good biosecurity practices. These include:

  • Restricting traffic onto and off your property.
  • Disinfecting shoes, clothes and egg trays or flats, crates, vehicles, and tires.
  • Avoiding visits to other poultry farms or bird owners.
  • Washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area.

Who do I contact if I have questions about Virulent Newcastle Disease?

For specific questions about virulent Newcastle Disease, you may contact the California Department of Food and Agriculture directly at (909) 731-6367.

To report sick birds, call the Sick Bird Hotline at 1-866-922-2473.

For general questions about biosecurity, you may visit or contact Norco Animal Shelter at (951) 737-8972 or

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