What is Newcastle disease?
Newcastle disease is a virus affecting avian species. Newcastle disease viruses can be widespread in avian populations, but do not always cause illness. Double-crested cormorants are the species most associated with illness; however white pelicans and ring-billed gulls have also been affected during outbreaks.
How does it spread?
Transmission occurs when uninfected birds come into direct contact with infected birds or their bodily discharges including feces.
Depending upon the strain, signs of infection can vary from no signs to dehydration, emaciation, weakness, diarrhea, paralysis, incoordination, and drooping necks. Newcastle disease can spread from wild avian populations to domestic poultry populations; however, thanks to good biosecurity, this has been documented very rarely and only in association with double-crested cormorant virus outbreaks. Newcastle disease is not considered a risk to human health, with signs of conjunctivitis and mild flu-like symptoms being the most severe.
FWC is monitoring Newcastle disease in double-crested cormorants. If you see a notable die-off of cormorants or cormorants exhibiting signs of Newcastle disease, please submit a bird mortality report.
Guideline for Wildlife Rehabilitators
Wildlife Rehabber Guidelines for Newcastle Disease