In February 2021, and after more than a decade without a Newcastle outbreak in nearby border areas, it was detected in Bolivia, near La Paz. It was reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on April 1st, 2021; and on April 5th, there was a public-private meeting to assess the risk of its introduction to Chile, given that finding the disease in Bolivia implied high risk for northern Chile, due to the informal trade of eggs and backyard animals, and Bolivian workers in the poultry sector.

In an immediate, preventative measure to preserve Chile’s status as a country free of this disease, it was decided, in a joint effort between SAG, Chilehuevos (egg producers), ChileCarne, and the company Ariztía, to vaccinate backyard poultry in the northern Regions of Arica y Parinacota and Tarapacá. This was decided based on a risk analysis that included: fighting rooster farms and backyard poultry located within 3 km from wetlands, bodies of water and rivers; backyards within 2 km of industrial farms; and backyards within 1 km of fighting roosters.

It should be noted that the appearance of the disease, whether in its velogenic -very virulent- or mesogenic -moderate- form would trigger the closure of Chile’s primary markets, hence the importance of a preventive and proactive action.

For the vaccination program, two types of vaccine were used: one with a live virus and another inactivated. The vaccination scheme was completed in two doses; the first with the live virus, and after 15 to 21 days a second live shot (booster) together with the inactivated vaccine. The vaccination process in the Arica and Parinacota Region began on May 31st and was completed on July 23rd with the second shot. Around 3,300 birds in 78 farms were vaccinated. Meanwhile, the campaign in the Tarapacá Region began on September 21st and completed its first stage on October 8th. A total of 92 facilities were registered, with a total of 4,430 birds, of which 1,400 located in a semi-industrial farm with low biosecurity were vaccinated.

Currently, the second vaccination round is being conducted and it is expected to be completed by October 29th.