BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The threat of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is still fully present across Colorado and the country. With multiple new detections in Colorado over the past week, the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office is continuing to promote biosecurity practices as the best method to prevent the introduction of the disease fatal to birds and poultry.
“Cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza are on the rise again across the country as migratory birds start their seasonal movement south. Right now it’s critical that Colorado’s backyard and commercial poultry flock owners keep up the biosecurity measures they have been implementing since the beginning of the outbreak this spring,” said Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. “HPAI is a disease with high mortality that can wipe out entire domestic poultry flocks in less than 72 hours. The most important thing bird owners can do right now is limit interaction between their flocks and wild birds.”
On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) confirmed a new detection of HPAI in a commercial egg laying facility in Weld County as well as in a Blue Winged Teal duck in Boulder county. That same day, Governor Polis issued a verbal emergency declaration to make disaster emergency funds available to support the state’s response to the outbreak. A wild hawk in Larimer County was also confirmed to have HPAI on September 23, 2022. The full list of HPAI detections in Colorado can be found at ag.colorado.gov/HPAI.
HPAI is a highly contagious foreign animal disease that is fatal in domestic poultry. Wild birds serve as a reservoir for HPAI and can spread these viruses to poultry. USDA has published all detections of HPAI in poultry and wild birds on the APHIS website. Learn more about avian influenza and how to report unusual bird deaths on the CDA website at ag.colorado.gov/HPAI
Bird owners struggling with stress or anxiety around HPAI can contact Colorado Crisis Services by calling 1-844-494-TALK (8255) or texting TALK to 38255. Farmers and ranchers can receive a voucher for six free sessions with an ag-competent provider through the Colorado Agricultural Addiction and Mental Health Program (campforhealth.com).
What bird owners can do:
INCREASE BIOSECURITY: Poultry owners must immediately increase biosecurity measures to protect their birds from HPAI. The USDA Defend the Flock website has helpful resources for keeping poultry healthy in any operation. Commercial poultry producers can use this toolkit to assess their biosecurity practices and preparedness.
MONITOR: Monitor your flock for clinical signs of HPAI, including monitoring production parameters (feed and water consumption, egg production) and increased illness and death. Any changes in production parameters that could indicate HPAI should be reported.
REPORT: Veterinarians and producers must report any suspicious disease events in poultry flocks to the State Veterinarian’s office at 303-869-9130. If it is after hours, the voicemail message will indicate which veterinarian is on call.
If you have sick birds or birds that have died from unknown causes, help is available at the Colorado Avian Health Call Line at CSU, 970-297-4008.
Wild birds: If you find three or more dead wild birds in a specific area within a two week period OR if you see live birds showing clinical signs of disease, please contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.
Additional information and resources: