The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), in conjunction with United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in wild Snow and Ross's geese in Sedgwick County, Colorado. These birds were collected by Colorado Parks and Wildlife on March 17, 2022 after finding several sick and dead geese at Jumbo Reservoir. The birds were necropsied at the CPW Wildlife Health Laboratory and samples were submitted to the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The samples tested positive and these results were confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory on March 24, 2022. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in wild birds in Colorado.
At this time, there have been no detections of HPAI in commercial or backyard poultry flocks in Colorado. The USDA publishes all detections of HPAI in wild and domestic birds on this website.
"With the number of cases of HPAI we have seen across many eastern and midwest states, it is not unexpected to have a detection in wild birds in Colorado. However, this detection emphasizes the importance for all poultry and bird owners to increase their biosecurity to protect the domestic poultry in the state," said Dr. Maggie Baldwin, Colorado State Veterinarian. "While our primary goal is prevention, we are also working to increase preparedness in the event that we do have a domestic poultry detection of HPAI in the state to respond quickly and eliminate the virus. Rapid detection and response is the best way to protect and safeguard animals and the food supply."
HPAI is a reportable disease. It is important for veterinarians and producers to 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.
HPAI is a highly contagious and fatal foreign animal disease in domestic poultry. Wild birds can spread this virus to domestic poultry and certain strains of avian influenza can be transmitted to humans. This does not present a food safety risk; properly prepared and cooked poultry products and eggs are safe for human consumption.
Poultry producers and bird owners should increase biosecurity measures to help prevent HPAI from occurring in Colorado’s domestic poultry flocks. The most important biosecurity practices include limiting exposure of domestic birds to wild birds and other poultry flocks and limiting introduction of new birds into flocks. People, equipment, vehicles, and other objects can also serve as a mechanism for transmission of disease and are important considerations when implementing biosecurity measures.
What you can do:
BIOSECURITY: It is extremely important for poultry owners to 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: It is important for veterinarians and producers to 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.
For additional information and resources:
CDA: Avian Influenza
USDA: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza & Defend the Flock
CFSPH: Poultry Biosecurity