REDWOOD CITY — The live poultry show has been canceled at this spring’s San Mateo County Fair. A major Peninsula veterinary hospital is postponing all chicken appointments. And worried Bay Area backyard bird hobbyists are taking special steps to protect their flocks.

News that a highly contagious and deadly bird virus was detected at a veterinary clinic in Redwood City on Thursday has alarmed the Bay Area’s poultry community, indicating that the dreaded Virulent Newcastle Disease has moved north from Southern California.

The disease, first reported on May 17 in Riverside County, has led to the euthanasia of nearly 500,000 backyard and commercial birds in Southern California.

“The really big concern is the spread into commercial flocks,” said Richard Blatchford, a poultry specialist at UC Davis Department of Animal Science. It has already been found in three commercial facilities in Riverside County.

“It can wipe out an entire farm very quickly,” he said.

The disease causes only mild symptoms in humans, but it can kill chickens, turkeys, cockatoos, cockatiels – and occasionally wild birds such as cormorants, pelicans and gulls.

The new case – the first ever in Northern California – likely occurred in a bird that was transported from Southern California, where the …read more

Source:: East Bay – Science


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