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Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Virulent Newcastle Disease


Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) detected in  Los Angeles County (2018-2020)




California Free of Virulent Newcastle Disease - Southern California Regional Quarantine Lifted - California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) 6.1.20


 As of June 1, 2020 - State and federal regulatory agencies have declared an end to the VND quarantine in Southern California.  Extensive testing of the regulated areas has been completed and no additional cases have been detected.  This allows poultry to again move freely in California.


To continue to protect California flocks, poultry entering California must either have a certificate of veterinary inspection demonstrating good health or a National Poultry Improvement Plan certificate. 


All backyard poultry owners and commercial operations are encouraged to learn about and practice biosecurity measures, to routinely check birds for signs of illness, and to report suspected VND or other bird diseases. 


Learn more about Virulent Newcastle Disease - CDFA

Learn more about biosecurity for poultry (Defend The Flock) - USDA



VND was first detected in May 2018 in Los Angeles County.  By December 2018 the virus had spread extensively in backyard poultry in the LA Basin and in commercial flocks in neighboring counties.  After prolonged disease control efforts, the last confirmed positive case was detected in February 2020.  Testing continued throughout the area since that time to gain assurance that the disease was eradicated. 


All bird owners and veterinarians are advised to learn about VND, and how to protect birds.  It is important to note that VND is not a food safety concern. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.


What is Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND)?

Virulent Newcastle Disease (aka VND, Exotic Newcastle Disease, END) is caused by a highly contagious virus that can infect poultry and many other species of birds, including parrots. It can cause severe disease and death in birds.


How do birds catch VND?

VND is highly contagious between birds. Birds that are infected shed the virus in their nasal secretions, eye secretions and feces. Infected birds contaminate their cage, bowls, and environment with the virus. Birds catch it by having direct contact with other birds that have it, or by having contact objects that were contaminated with the virus. People can accidentally spread VND to other birds on their clothing or by sharing equipment with other bird owners.

What are the symptoms in VND in birds?

The symptoms of VND in birds can be highly variable and depend on the species of bird. Most infected birds become lethargic, lose their appetite, and have diarrhea. Chickens are more likely to have additional symptoms such as swelling of the eyelids, oozing of fluids from the nose and mouth, difficulty breathing, and sudden death. Occasionally neurologic signs such as paralysis of the wings or a twisted neck are also seen. The incubation period for VND is between 2-15 days (i.e. how long it takes for the symptoms to start after a bird is exposed to it).
Can humans catch VND?

In humans, VND can occasionally cause an infection of the eyelids (conjunctivitis) in people if an infected bird coughs on a person's face, or a person touches their eyes after touching bird with VND. For most people, the conjunctivitis will go away without treatment, however, a doctor should be consulted if the symptoms are severe or persistent. Human infection can be prevented by hand washing after handling birds, and by wearing eye protection when handling sick birds. VND is not spread to people through meat or eggs - it is not a food safety concern.

How can I prevent VND in my birds?

Practice good biosecurity. This means taking precautions to prevent bringing in a virus accidentally into your flock. Learn more about biosecurity for birds (USDA).

  1. Keep your bird area clean.

  2. Watch for illness in birds. If any of your birds show any signs of illness, talk to your avian veterinarian.

  3. New birds. If you get a new bird, make sure you know where it came from - request documentation from the seller about where the bird originated. Keep the new bird away from your other birds for at least 30 days, to make sure it stays healthy. Have your veterinarian examine the new bird. Wash your hands after handling the new bird or its cage and equipment before handling your other birds.

  4. Do not borrow equipment. If you must borrow equipment or buy used equipment, make sure it is scrubbed thoroughly clean with detergent and water, rinsed, disinfected (contact time with disinfectant at least 10 minutes), rinsed again, and then dried thoroughly before using it for your birds. Many disinfectants are toxic to birds - make sure you use disinfectant in a well-ventilated place, far from you birds.

  5. Do not spread bird diseases on your hands or clothing. If you are around other people's birds, wash your hands, disinfect your shoes, and change your clothing before handling your birds.

Updates and Information on Virulent Newcastle Disease from Agricultural Agencies


Reporting Virulent Newcastle Disease Cases in Los Angeles County

Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) in birds is a reportable condition in Los Angeles County as well as in California and in the United States, in general. In Los Angeles County, report suspected or confirmed cases of VND in birds using this form. You can also report a case of VND online by using this portal. Case information will be shared with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.



Brochures on Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
     Virulent Newcastle Disease - English

Enfermedad de Newcastle virulento - Spanish


Last updated: June 3, 2020


Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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