MONTEREY, CA. (March 29, 2019) — Due to an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease (vND) in California, The Monterey County Fair has canceled both the Junior and Senior Poultry shows at the 2019 Monterey County Fair this fall.
“This was a difficult decision and was one that was not taken lightly. We all need to keep in mind that vND is affecting the entire poultry industry in California not just fair time poultry shows,” said Monterey County Fair CEO Kelly Violini. “It is never our intention to disappoint our exhibitors, however we need to be aware of the possible consequences and understand that this can possibly escalate very quickly.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Virulent Newcastle disease, formerly known as exotic Newcastle disease, is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs.
Since May 18, 2018, USDA has confirmed 409 cases of vND in California, mostly in San Bernardino County and Riverside County, but none in Monterey County.
Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can become infected with mild symptoms, such as conjunctivitis. These are easily prevented with personal protective equipment.
According to the USDA, Virulent Newcastle disease is one of the most serious poultry diseases worldwide. A death rate of almost 100 percent can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. Virulent Newcastle disease can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry.
Virulent Newcastle disease spreads when healthy birds come in direct contact with bodily fluids from sick birds. The disease affects almost all birds and poultry, even vaccinated poultry. The virus can travel on manure, egg flats, crates, other farming materials or equipment, and people who have picked up the virus on their clothing, shoes, or hands.
A domestic introduction could cause devastating effects on the poultry industry and have a significant impact on trade. A large vND outbreak would have long-term economic consequences and an extensive recovery period.
The 83rd Monterey County Fair, “High Tides and Carnival Rides,” will be held from Aug. 29-Sept. 2., at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center.
For more information, contact the Fair Administration Office, at 2004 Fairground Road in Monterey, by calling (831) 372-5863 or go to www.montereycountyfair.com for more information.