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Outreach Efforts to Prevent Newcastle Disease Outbreaks in Southern California

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In May 2018, an outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease (vND) affected backyard and commercial premises in Southern California. The re-occurrence of these outbreaks since the 1970s suggests that some poultry communities may not have reliable and stable resources available regarding biosecurity and disease prevention. Therefore, staff at the University of California, Davis (UCD) School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) began organizing educational events and learning more about the gamefowl breeder community through a needs assessment exercise, during which local feedstores and neighborhoods were also visited. Focus groups were organized with breeders in various cities within the regional quarantine area, established by the CDFA during the vND outbreak. The focus groups were aimed at creating open communication networks with gamefowl breeders in the affected area, as well as to learn about their current sources of information, learning preferences, and current management practices. With the input from gamefowl breeders, as well as funding and input from the CDFA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a quality assurance program called the "Gamefowl Wellness Program" was established. Educational content was created and published through the UCD Gamefowl Wellness Program poultry health website. Additionally, with the help of the CDFA, the USDA, and pharmaceutical companies, Newcastle disease vaccines and training for their application were provided to feedstores with gamefowl breeder clientele. Nurturing trust with these poultry communities allowed us to receive the information needed to develop effective outreach strategies that could better serve them. Responding to community concerns might be a way to garner the trust necessary to prevent or at least promptly detect foreign animal disease outbreaks.

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