News Details

Newcastle Quarantine Still in Effect in Norco

Posted: September 24, 2019

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has increased its testing of poultry in Norco to confirm whether Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) is still present in our area.

Background:

On February 27, a regional quarantine became effective for all of Los Angeles County, and large parts of western San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Norco is still included as one of the quarantine areas in Riverside County. On September 6, the CDFA determined that infected birds that were moved from within the VND quarantine area in Riverside County led to the recent detection of the disease in the Ramona-area of San Diego County. This bird movement occurred in violation of the quarantine. It is critically important that bird owners under quarantine understand that moving birds, especially those that carry and shed the virus, put others at significant risk.

Mandatory euthanasia of infected and exposed poultry in connection with this incident has occurred at properties in San Diego and Riverside counties. The VND response team is conducting mandatory testing in the immediate areas surrounding the new cases, as well as conducting ongoing surveillance and testing within the quarantined areas in Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

Bird owners under quarantine, including those in Norco, are not permitted to move their birds because exposed birds may appear healthy but could be in the early stages of infection and highly contagious to other birds. Community cooperation is vital to stop the spread of VND and eradicate the disease. It is important to note that any bird movement within a quarantined area is prohibited by law and violators are subject to fines ranging from $100 to $1,000, or up to $25,000 if a violator is proven to have moved the virus.

Detections of VND have decreased greatly over the last few months as response teams continue their work to detect any small pockets of infection, stop the spread of the virus, and eradicate the disease.

Bird owners in Southern California are urged to remain aware of VND signs, practice good biosecurity, and report any sick birds immediately to the Sick Bird Hotline by calling (866) 922-2473.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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. If a representative from the CDFA requests access to your property, please first verify that the individual has legitimate credentials (e.g., State-issued identification badge). If the individual does not have legitimate credentials, do not allow them to access your property.

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 (866) 922-2473.

For general questions about biosecurity, you may visit www.norco.ca.us/biosecurity or contact the Norco Animal Shelter at (951) 737-8972 or animals@ci.norco.ca.us.