The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is monitoring a virulent Exotic Newcastle Disease diagnosis in Cormorants in Pinellas County last week.
Exotic Newcastle Disease is an extremely contagious and fatal foreign avian disease that affects most bird species but is not life threatening to humans. Human contact with Exotic Newcastle Disease may cause minor irritations such as pink eye or skin irritations. Exotic Newcastle Disease is often spread from an infected bird to an uninfected bird in the same flock and could affect wild birds, domestic poultry and pet birds like parrots and parakeets. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam encourages Floridians with pet birds or Floridians who visit aviary sanctuaries to be aware of the symptoms of Exotic Newcastle Disease. Often, birds with Exotic Newcastle Disease will exhibit coughing, muscular tremors, drooping wings, paralysis, swelling of tissue around the eyes or neck, and discharge from the eyes or beak. It is not recommended that the public handle sick wildlife or other affected birds and if Floridians believe they see a bird with any of the above symptoms, they should contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, (850) 410-0900 or after hours, 1-800-342-5869, mailto:email@example.com, or the USDA Area Office at (352) 333-3060 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. The following tips will help prevent the spread of Exotic Newcastle Disease: -- Restrict vehicle and foot traffic near your birds. -- Disinfect shoes, clothing, hands, egg trays or flats, crates, vehicles, and tires, particularly after visiting other poultry farms or fairs, shows, and exhibits. -- Buy birds from reputable dealers and ask for certification that birds are legally imported. -- Keep new birds separated from the rest of the flock for at least 30 days. -- Keep young and old birds, birds of different species and birds from different sources separated. -- Keep records of all sales and shipments in case problems arise. Additional information on Exotic Newcastle Disease can be found at