Chicken disease spreads to two Nevada counties

Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) has been found in chickens in Clark and Nye counties in Nevada, prompting a quarantine on those counties to prevent the spread of the deadly poultry disease.

Presence of the virus causing END was verified Thursday in a backyard poultry flock in Las Vegas, according to Ed Foster, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

That agency and the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service immediately imposed the quarantine to prevent the movement of birds into other counties, said Peder (cq) Cuneo, extension veterinarian with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Foster said Nevada state and federal agriculture officials are working out a surveillance program to test backyard chicken flocks and about a dozen commercial poultry flocks in the Las Vegas area.

"Our concern is not from the commercial operations (in Nevada), but that the backyard or small hobby poultry owner may bring the disease into Arizona," Cuneo said.

Cuneo stressed that there are no confirmed cases of END as yet in Arizona but that importation of birds by hobbyists or for illegal gaming operations represents the greatest danger.

Eight Southern California counties, including Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino, are under quarantine for END.

Details leading to that quarantine appeared in a Daily Miner story Jan.


The mortality rate for birds infected with END virus is nearly 100 percent.

Symptoms of the disease in chickens include swelling of the head and eyes, respiratory problems, greenish-dark diarrhea and nervous signs that include drooping wings, dragging legs and twisted head.

The California quarantine also includes ducks, geese, turkeys, partridges, pheasants, quail, guinea fowl, peacocks, doves, pigeons, swans, ratites (emus, rheas, ostriches etc.) and ratite eggs.

Cockatiels and cockatoos that are kept by some people as house pets also are vulnerable to the disease.

African gray parrots, macaws, lories, finches and canaries have some resistance to the virus, but may be carriers.

Anyone with a bird exhibiting END symptoms should immediately contact the state veterinary office at 602-542-4293.