Dr. Craig Coufal, AgriLife Extension poultry specialist, College Station, said officials have been dealing with a month-long outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease, vND, formerly known as Exotic Newcastle Disease.
Coufal said chickens infected with the disease so far have been isolated to two counties in southern California. This is the same area where the last vND outbreak occurred in 2003, which eventually led to infections in commercial flocks. There have been no infections reported among commercial flocks in the U.S. with the current outbreak, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Coufal said when birds do show signs of viral infections, including other diseases such as avian influenza or infectious laryngotracheitis, they typically act abnormally. They stop eating, are lethargic, cough or sneeze, and in the case of laying hens, egg production ceases.
Coufal said some tips for biosecurity include:
- Securing poultry houses against wild birds, pets and livestock.
- Restricting visitors from houses and coops, especially without thorough disinfecting.
- Dedicating specific shoes or rubber boots for exclusive use in poultry houses.
- Washing and disinfecting any shared equipment such as scales, feeders and drinkers.
- Initiating rodent and insect control programs.
- Acquiring birds from sources where they have been tested for diseases.
For more information about avian influenza and bio-security practices go to: https://posc.tamu.edu/texas-agrilife-poultry-extension-specialists/publications/
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