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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) – Information and Resources

Last updated April 12th, 2022

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been identified in Colorado in poultry and wild birds. HPAI is a highly contagious disease and fatal to poultry and wild birds. The Colorado Agricultural Commission approved an Emergency Rule temporarily suspending Colorado Poultry events. (link opens a new tab).

Where can I learn more about HPAI?

The CSU Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratories has a fact sheet available here. (link opens a new tab)

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has a dedicated webpage here (link opens a new tab)

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has a recorded HPAI webinar available here (link opens a new tab)

Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Tips for Flock Owners to Protect their Birds from HPAI:

Learn more on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website (link opens a new tab)

How can backyard poultry owners keep their birds safe?

You can reduce the risk to your birds by preventing interactions with wild birds and their waste:

  • Install netting around your coop to keep wild birds away
  • Do not allow your birds to wander around your yard (no free-range)
  • Do not attract wild birds.
    • Takedown bird feeders/ baths intended for wild birds
    • Clean up any feed that spills
  • Wash your hands before/ after handling your birds
  • Have a dedicated pair of shoes you wear into the coop
  • Don’t introduce new birds to your flock at this time

You can learn more about biosecurity and find additional steps you can take here: Defend the Flock Resource Center (link opens a new tab)

Will this impact the Larimer County Fair?

We will keep 4-H members updated about the impacts to the Larimer County Fair. Currently, we are not sure what the impacts will or will not be.

Is meat or eggs safe to eat?

From the CDC: It is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry in the United States (link opens a new tab). As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F is recommended as a general food safety precaution.

Is HPAI a threat to humans?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. You can learn more here.

What should I do if I find a dead wild bird?

As a reminder, you should always avoid direct contact with wild birds. Trained experts need to properly care for sick or injured birds or collect samples from deceased birds.

From the Colorado Department of Agriculture:

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.

In Larimer County, there are three CPW Offices:

Lory State Park Office

708 Lodgepole Dr
Bellvue, CO 80512
(970) 493-1623

Fort Collins Office

317 W Prospect Rd
Fort Collins, CO 80526
(970) 472-4300

Boyd Lake State Park Office

3720 N County Road 11-C
Loveland, CO 80538
(970) 669-1739
http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/BoydLake

Other Resources

What are signs of illness from HPAI in poultry?

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) (link opens a new tab), the signs of HPAI can include:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs;
  • Lack of energy and appetite;
  • Decreased egg production or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs;
  • Swelling of head, comb, eyelid, wattles, and hocks;
  • Purple discoloration of wattles, comb, and legs;
  • Nasal discharge, coughing, and sneezing;
  • Incoordination; or
  • Diarrhea

Additional background – Avian Influenza

Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and is carried by free flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. AI viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, of which there are 16 (H1–H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, of which there are 9 (N1–N9). Many different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype and can be further broken down into different strains which circulate within flyways/geographic regions. AI viruses are further classified by their pathogenicity (low or high)—the ability of a particular virus strain to produce disease in domestic poultry.

Contacts: APHISpress@usda.gov  

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