Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) Eradication Efforts

The Issue

Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) is a catastrophic avian (bird) disease. An outbreak was confirmed October 1, 2002, and Southern California is under state and federal quarantines. As new pockets of the disease have been identified, states of emergency have been declared in California, Nevada and Arizona.

What Has ANR Done?

Poultry extensionists have maintained ongoing relationships with the various stakeholders (commercial poultry producers, poultry and game bird fanciers, 4H/FFA/grange youth involved in poultry projects, pigeon fanciers/racers, and exotic bird owners). At the onset of the current outbreak, the state veterinarian immediately contacted ANR extension faculty in poultry and avian medicine.

The team coordinated educational outreach efforts to poultry and pigeon fanciers/youth groups/fairs and expositions, racing pigeon breeders and companion bird fanciers and industry. Audiences were blanketed with educational materials, meetings, newsletters, fliers, e-mails and Web sites.

The Payoff

New bird producers join university to fight disease

Regional talks were held for poultry and pigeon fanciers; contact was made with club officers who planned to host shows; and mailings focusing on the disease and the risks associated with bringing birds together were made to club members. A companion bird club contact list was established, and phone and e-mail communication was initiated. Team members maintained close communication with avian organizations, including commercial poultry producers. A presentation was made to the state's association of fair managers and to 4-H poultry leaders and members. The team worked closely with the END Task Force, ag commissioners, private poultry practitioners, feed mill and store owners and other allied industries.

Given the 30-year absence of an END outbreak, many clients needed a complete education regarding END; others needed refresher training. Efforts helped clients understand the disease, typical symptoms, transmission methods, diagnostic tests and biosecurity measures to prevent the disease from entering a healthy flock.

Directors voluntarily cancelled shows scheduled by poultry and pigeon fancier clubs. All county fair directors but one voluntarily voted to not hold bird shows on their fairgrounds during 2003. Many pigeon racing clubs have voluntarily curtailed activities. Companion bird clubs have become active in communicating research-based information to their members. These activities have dramatically reduced the opportunities for comingling of birds, new outbreaks, and spread of the disease. Clients armed with up-to-date, science-based information on END have become links in continuing educational efforts.

Clientele Testimonial

"The talk on END was very good and I learned a lot." "...answered a lot of my questions."


F.A. Bradley, Poultry Specialist
Department of Animal Science, UC Davis
(530) 752-6316