Due to an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease in California, the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors voted unanimously Tuesday night to cancel the poultry show and poultry exhibits at the 2019 Nevada County Fair.
The decision was made after Dr. Annette Jones, California State Veterinarian and Director of Animal Health and Food Safety Services with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), recommended that all poultry shows and poultry exhibitions be cancelled throughout the state due to the disease.
Virulent Newcastle Disease is a highly contagious respiratory disease of birds, including chickens, that spreads quickly. According to CDFA, the disease does not affect meat or eggs but is almost always deadly to poultry. Virus particles can spread quickly by direct contact between birds, and people can spread the disease by moving infected birds, moving equipment and feed, and by wearing clothing and shoes that have been in infected areas. The only way to stop the spread of the virus and eradicate the disease is to euthanize infected birds, and all birds within highly infected areas. Since May 2018, staff from CDFA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been working in joint incident command to eradicate the disease in Southern California. The virus has resulted, or will soon result, in the euthanasia of more than one million birds in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties.
The Nevada County Fair joins numerous other fairs and poultry organizations to cancel shows following recommendations from the State Veterinarian.
“The poultry exhibit at the Fair is a favorite among Fair-goers and youth exhibitors,” said Patrick Eidman, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “We understand the impact this decision will have on the youth in our poultry exhibit program and we’re disappointed for the kids, however our concern is for animal health and doing our part to help stop the spread of this terrible and highly infectious disease. We will work diligently to ensure that our youth exhibitors in the poultry barn will have opportunities to participate in the Fair. The exhibits team is already working to create new classes within the poultry department that will allow exhibitors to share their knowledge and hard work.”
Other livestock events and exhibits are expected to proceed as usual at the Nevada County Fair, August 7 – 11.