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BACKYARD BIRD QUARANTINE LIFTED.

Byline: Rachel Uranga Staff Writer

SIMI VALLEY - The quarantine on backyard birds and poultry has been lifted by the Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force after tests for the highly contagious virus came back negative, officials said Tuesday.

The quarantine was imposed around three homes after the disease was discovered in a flock off Adam Road three months ago. It was the only such find in Ventura County, and officials destroyed 260 pet birds, chickens and doves as a result, said Larry Cooper, a spokesman for the joint state and federal task force.

``Most people around here are very pleased,'' said Theresa Venti, owner of Theresa's County Feed and Pet Store, who lost 20 percent of her store's profit after she had to get rid of highly susceptible poultry and pet birds.

``It's quite a big relief, but it's still to soon to tell what will happen,'' she said.

Owners of birds still cannot transport animals over county lines, but they can take their pets to the veterinarian.

So far, 3,600 of the 18,000 backyard quarantines have been lifted in the eight-county quarantine area, representing slow progress in the eradication of the disease, Cooper said.

Roughly 21,000 commercial flocks in the eight-county area remain under quarantine, officials said.

Officials have said the highly contagious and fatal virus can wipe out unvaccinated poultry flocks and place even vaccinated ones in danger.

So far, the state has spent $160 million on the eradication effort.

If all goes as expected, quarantine should be lifted in the eight-county region in two to six months.

Rachel Uranga, (805) 583-7602

rachel.uranga(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 2, 2003
Words:271
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