The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of virulent Newcastle disease in a commercial chicken flock in Riverside County, California. This finding is part of an outbreak in southern California that began in May 2018 in backyard birds. This is the first case in commercial poultry since 2003.
Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild, and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.
APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to the finding, limiting the disease’s spread in commercial poultry, and then eradicating it.