The Junta de Andalucía’s Ministry of Agriculture, Farming, Fishing and Sustainable Development has announced that two more outbreaks of Newcastle disease have been detected on chicken farms in Huércal-Overa, in Almeria province. Both farms are within a three-kilometre radius of the one where the first outbreak was found on 29 June. One has approximately 9,980 chickens and the other has 26,900.
The first symptoms were spotted on 4 and 5 July and several birds died in the following days. Tests have shown that this is a highly contagious strain of the disease.
All the birds had been brought to the farms for fattening in early May, and since then they have only been taken to slaughter. There have been no other movements. An enquiry is being carried out into the possible source of Newcastle disease in these cases. Studies are being carried out into the people and vehicles who have gone on to the farm in recent weeks, to see how far the contamination may have spread.
All the chickens on the farms are being destroyed at an authorised plant, together with their food and other materials which could propagate the virus. Restriction zones have also been set up around the affected farms.
Newcastle disease is a viral infection which is quite common among chickens all over the world. It is mainly spread by contact between infected animals. The authorities say there is no risk to human health from a food safety point of view.