COLORADO SPRINGS — Four counties in Colorado have detected Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in wild birds, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing a warning for poultry and bird owners.
As of April 6th, a total of five wild birds in El Paso County were confirmed cases, four Mallard ducks and one Green-winged Teal duck.
According to a map on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s (CDA) website, Sedgwick, Morgan, Denver, and El Paso Counties have confirmed wild bird cases of HPAI, though thankfully none have been reported in domestic birds. The Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office is asking all poultry and bird owners to increase biosecurity measures to keep the disease from spreading to our domestic poultry.
The CDA is also urging the public and bird owners to report sickness or unusual bird deaths immediately, as detection is critical.
What should you do if you see a sick or dead bird?
- Sick birds or birds that have died from unknown causes:
- Call the Avian Health Hotline at Colorado State University (CSU): (970)297-4008
- Dead birds:
- Submit to the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins for free HPAI Testing: (970)297-4008 or (970)297-1281
- Multiple sick birds or multiple unusual bird deaths:
- Call the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office (303)869-9130 or the USDA-Veterinary Services Colorado Office (303)231-5385
- 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.
This flu strain affects not only wild and domestic birds, but conservation efforts as well. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo released a statement outlining the steps they have taken to ensure the health and safety of their birds. They have moved the highest risk birds to behind-the-scenes areas where they will be more protected from the virus, and they have enacted unique plans for each species based on their specific susceptibility for contracting the disease.
The zoo is working closely with the State Veterinarian of Colorado and other agencies to manage the disease, and will continue to monitor the situation for appropriate response.
If you would like more information, the CDA hosted a Webinar on Wednesday to inform the public and bird owners about the virus. The full recording of that webinar is available on their YouTube channel, and you can find more information for flock owners at the USDA’s Defend the Flock Program.