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CHICKEN DISEASE SPREADING.

Byline: Charles F. Bostwick Staff Writer

LITTLEROCK - State agricultural inspectors posted bird quarantine notices in Littlerock as part of an escalating battle against a disease that devastated dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
 California poultry farms 30 years ago.

Exotic Newcastle disease's discovery among Littlerock chickens came the same week state agricultural officials killed more than 100,000 chickens at neighboring Riverside County egg farms after one bird tested positive for the disease.

``We are very concerned about it because of the virulent nature of the disease,'' California Department of Food and Agriculture California Department of Food and Agriculture, which was established in 1919 by the California Legislature,[1] works in partnership with the agricultural industry and other governmental agencies to regulate various aspects dealing with food and agriculture related  spokeswoman Leticia Rico said.

State officials have halted exports of chickens from most of Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, , although eggs can still be exported by commercial ranchers if they are disinfected Disinfected
Decreased the number of microorganisms on or in an object.

Mentioned in: Isolation
.

A highly contagious virus, exotic Newcastle disease Newcastle disease, pneumoencephalitis, acute viral disease of domestic poultry. Newcastle disease is characterized by sneezing, coughing, and nervous behavior. Affected birds may show tremors, circling, falling, twisting of the head and neck, or complete paralysis.  is considered almost 100 percent fatal among chickens. The disease does not affect people, and state agricultural officials say it does not make chicken meat or eggs unsafe to eat.

But state officials have stepped up testing and quarantines around Southern California to avoid a repetition of a 1971 California outbreak, which resulted in the destruction of nearly 12 million chickens and other birds.

Blamed on infected parrots imported from South America South America, fourth largest continent (1991 est. pop. 299,150,000), c.6,880,000 sq mi (17,819,000 sq km), the southern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. , the 1971 outbreak took two years to control and cost taxpayers $56 million.

The disease was first discovered in California in the 1950s among chukar chukar

Popular small game bird (Alectoris chukar), a species of partridge. Stocked in many countries, it is native from southeastern Europe to India and Manchuria. It has a brown back with strongly barred sides and a black-outlined whitish throat.
 quail and pheasants imported from Hong Kong Hong Kong (hŏng kŏng), Mandarin Xianggang, special administrative region of China, formerly a British crown colony (2005 est. pop. 6,899,000), land area 422 sq mi (1,092 sq km), adjacent to Guangdong prov. . The last California outbreak was in 1998, when a small flock of game fowl Game´ fowl`   

1. (Zool.) A handsome breed of the common fowl, remarkable for the great courage and pugnacity of the males.

Noun 1.
 was apparently infected by a bird bought at a swap meet. The flock was destroyed and no other cases were discovered, state officials say.

The latest outbreak involves a virus that closely resembles one that hit the Mexican poultry industry in 2000, state officials said, killing or leading to the destruction of 13.6 million chickens.

Since the new Southern California outbreak started in September, the disease has been found in birds kept in back yards in South El Monte South El Monte, city (1990 pop. 20,850), Los Angeles co., S Calif., in the San Gabriel Valley; inc. 1958. Manufactures include transportation equipment, electrical and plastic products, clothing, textiles, machinery, and furniture. There is poultry processing. , La Puente, Compton and Montebello as well as in the Antelope Valley and in western Riverside and San Bernardino counties, state officials said.

The Riverside County egg ranches were the first commercial poultry flocks to be infected.

Besides hitting backyard chicken owners, the outbreak and quarantine have worried owners of exotic birds such as parrots, who fear their birds may be ordered destroyed if state inspectors find infected chickens near their homes. They blame illegal cockfights for the disease's spread.

A Palmdale parrot owner worried about the situation said she heard of Newcastle disease being found this fall in Lake Los Angeles, then in the same Littlerock neighborhood where more notices went up Friday.

``I stopped going to the feed store,'' said the woman, who didn't want to be named. ``I don't want anything dragged home to my birds.''

Rico was unable to say how many infected chickens were found in Littlerock.

The individual quarantine notices order that no poultry can be moved off the premises, Rico said. All the chickens on the property will be destroyed, as well as any nearby flocks that state officials judge likely to be infected. The state pays owners what it determines is fair market value for the birds, Rico said.

Since November, a quarantine has barred moving chickens out of Los Angeles or western Riverside or San Bernardino counties. Until the egg ranch discoveries, commercial chicken ranchers were exempted from the shipment ban if they agreed to restrictions including weekly inspections.

The virus can be spread by chicken droppings, so if a person - like a chicken rancher, egg deliveryman or veterinarian veterinarian /vet·er·i·nar·i·an/ (vet?er-i-nar´e-an) a person trained and authorized to practice veterinary medicine and surgery; a doctor of veterinary medicine.

vet·er·i·nar·i·an
n.
 - walks among one flock and then visits another it can travel on his shoes, state officials say. Rodents running between one flock and another can also spread the disease, or birds - like pigeons - that fly from one flock to another.
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 29, 2002
Words:629
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