Avian flu found in Pitkin County

Staff Report

Avian flu detected in Pitkin County backyard chicken flock

Officials have confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard flock of poultry in Pitkin County after 35 of the 36 birds in the flock died, according to a news release.

The flock had known exposure to sick waterfowl in the days leading up to the bird deaths, the release states. The Colorado State Veterinarian’s office received a report from a veterinarian in Pitkin County about the flock.

The Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory conducted preliminary testing on one bird carcass, and the U.S Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory conducted confirmatory testing on April 8, the release states.

The one remaining bird was euthanized, and the farm is under quarantine. The Colorado Department of Agriculture is working closely with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, as well as other state and local partners for response, monitoring and detection.

This is the first case in Colorado of highly pathogenic avian influenza in domestic poultry. The detection of the virus in poultry “(does) not present an immediate public health concern” for humans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the release states.

“No human cases of the avian influenza virus have been detected in the United States,” according to the release. “Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly.”

The Colorado Department of Agriculture asks “all backyard flock owners to immediately increase the biosecurity measures they employ on their own premises, including keeping a closed flock, decreasing interactions between domestic and wild birds, and keeping feed away from wild birds,” the release states. “The State Veterinarian’s office has also been proactively working with Colorado’s commercial poultry operations to prepare and strengthen individual facility biosecurity plans.”

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