US agriculture secretary Ann Veneman announced yesterday that there are no longer any areas in the United States that are quarantined because of exotic Newcastle disease (END), a serious disease of poultry and other birds.
"This administration is committed to enhancing our pest and disease control and prevention efforts," Veneman said. "I congratulate all the state and federal personnel who have worked tirelessly to eradicate exotic Newcastle disease."
While this is a major milestone in the fight to end what was a very serious avian disease outbreak, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials warn that continued precautions should be taken against the reintroduction of END.
Yesterday's action removes various Californian counties from the list of END quarantined areas. This means that restrictions are removed on the movement of birds, poultry and certain other articles from those areas. This action comes 11 months after END was verified in the state.
END is one of the most infectious poultry diseases in the world. It is a contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of all species of birds.
The virus is spread primarily through direct contact between healthy birds and the bodily discharges of infected birds. The disease is transmitted through infected birds' droppings and secretions from the nose, mouth and eyes. END is not considered a public health threat.