Bird owners in Southern California are responding to outreach provided over the past several days related to virulent Newcastle disease (VND), and have started reporting sick birds. VND has now been confirmed in a number of flocks of backyard birds in San Bernardino County.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is working closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to respond to these findings, and is investigating any potential links between these cases and a case recently identified in Los Angeles County.

Bird owners are urged to practice biosecurity to help protect their birds from VND and other infectious diseases. These include simple steps like washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area; cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off the property; and isolating any birds returning from shows for 30 days before placing them with the rest of the flock.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to California’s Sick Bird Hotline at 866-922-BIRD (2473).