A viral bird illness is affecting poultry throughout the country.
It’s called Virulent Newcastle Disease and it’s made its way to California.
With more than 60 cases of Newcastle Disease reported in Southern California, health officials are urging farmers to keep a close eye on their chickens.
“It is a highly contagious disease to birds,” said Cerise Montanio, deputy director for the Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards.
The disease targets chickens, ducks, geese and parrots.
Although cases have been reported in the Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Montanio says, “it does not affect any egg consumption.” “People can eat the egg and they will be fine.”
Once the illness is noticed, affected birds are placed under quarantine.
“If they have backyard birds, like chickens, ducks, birds that they are raising specially now that we’re coming up on fair time, [the need] to look for signs of disease or sickness in there birds,” said Montanio.
Symptoms include a decrease in egg production, muscle tremors and symptoms similar to a cold or the flu.
People handling birds should follow simple steps, listed below, to avoid making contact or spreading the disease.
“Washing hands, cleaning their boots, setting aside specific clothes to use when handling their birds and only use it for those purposes,” said Montanio. “[Also,] Cleaning their equipment really good and minimizing transportation of any disease.”
If you know of any ill birds, report them to the California Sick Bird hotline at 866-922-2473.