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Declaration of Extraordinary Emergency Because of Exotic Newcastle Disease in Arizona

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Exotic Newcastle disease (END) has been confirmed in the State of Arizona. The disease has been confirmed in backyard poultry, which are raised on private premises for hobby, exhibition, and personal consumption. Previously, END had been confirmed in the States of California and Nevada. The Secretary of Agriculture signed a declaration of extraordinary emergency with respect to END in California on January 6, 2003 (see 68 FR 1432, Docket No. 03-001-1, published January 10, 2003), and a second declaration of extraordinary emergency with respect to END in Nevada on January 17, 2003 (see 68 FR 3507, Docket No. 03-001-2, published January 24, 2003).

END is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting domestic, wild, and caged poultry and birds. It is one of the most infectious diseases of poultry in the world, and is so virulent that many birds die without showing any clinical signs. A death rate of almost 100 percent can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. END can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry. This disease in poultry and birds is characterized by respiratory signs accompanied by nervous manifestations, gastrointestinal lesions, and swelling of the head.

END is spread primarily through direct contact between healthy birds or poultry and the bodily discharges of infected birds or poultry. Within an infected flock, END is transmitted by direct contact, contaminated feeding and watering equipment, and aerosols produced by coughing, gasping, and other respiratory disturbances. Dissemination between flocks over long distances is often due to movement of contaminated equipment and service personnel, such as vaccination crews. Movement of carrier birds and those in an incubating stage accounts for most of the outbreaks in the pet bird industry.

The existence of END in Arizona represents a threat to the U.S. poultry and bird industries. It constitutes a real danger to the national economy and a potential serious burden on interstate and foreign commerce. The United States Department of Agriculture (the Department) has reviewed the measures being taken by Arizona to control and eradicate END and has consulted with the appropriate State Government and Indian tribal officials in Arizona. Based on such review and consultation, the Department has determined that the measures being taken by the State are inadequate to control or eradicate END. Therefore, the Department has determined that an extraordinary emergency exists because of END in Arizona.

This declaration of extraordinary emergency authorizes the Secretary to (1) hold, seize, treat, apply other remedial actions to, destroy (including preventative slaughter), or otherwise dispose of, any animal, article, facility, or means of conveyance if the Secretary determines the action is necessary to prevent the dissemination of END and (2) prohibit or restrict the movement or use within the State of Arizona, or any portion of the State of Arizona, of any animal or article, means of conveyance, or facility if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the dissemination of END. The appropriate State Government and Indian tribal officials in Arizona have been informed of these facts.

Effective Date: This declaration of extraordinary emergency shall become effective February 7, 2003.

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Ann M. Veneman,

Secretary of Agriculture.

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[FR Doc. 03-3561 Filed 2-12-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-P