Virulent Newcastle disease
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of virulent (veer a lent) Newcastle disease in a small flock of pet chickens in Arizona.
This is the first case of virulent Newcastle disease in Arizona. The problem is, it's is believed to be connected to the current outbreak in California, as tests show the virus is almost identical.
Dr. Alan Huddleston with USDA describes the basics of virulent Newcastle disease.
"Virulent Newcastle disease is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs. A death rate of almost 100 percent can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. Virulent Newcastle disease can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry."
However - it's not a food safety concern for people. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products.
It is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases.