USDA APHIS | USDA confirms highly pathogenic bird flu in Colorado

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WASHINGTON, April 9, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard flock (poultry) in Pitkin County, Colorado.

Samples from the herd were tested at Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed at APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

APHIS is working closely with state animal health officials on a joint incident response. State officials have quarantined the affected premises and the birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. The birds in the flock will not enter the food system.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health problem. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. As a reminder, proper handling and cooking of all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F is recommended as a general food safety precaution.

As part of existing avian flu response plans, federal and state partners are working together on additional surveillance and testing in areas around affected flocks. The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and the USDA is working with partners to actively search for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and bird populations. migrating wild animals.

Everyone involved in poultry production, from the small backyard to the large commercial producer, should review their biosecurity activities to ensure the health of their birds. APHIS offers biosafety materials including videos, checklists, and a toolkit available at: -information/avian/defend-the-flock-program /dtf-resources/dtf-resources.

The USDA will communicate these results to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as to its international trading partners. The USDA also continues to communicate with its trading partners to encourage compliance with OIE standards and minimize trade impacts. OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, where possible, limit restrictions to animals and animal products within a defined region that present a risk of spread of a disease of concern. The OIE trade guidelines also call on member countries not to impose bans on international trade in poultry products in response to notifications for non-poultry products.

APHIS will continue to announce the first case of HPAI in commercial and backyard flocks detected in a state, but will not announce subsequent detections in the state. All cases in commercial and backyard farms will be listed on the APHIS website at avian/avian-influenza/2022-hpai.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal authorities, either through the through their state veterinarian or through APHIS’s toll-free number at 1-866. -536-7593. APHIS urges growers to consider bringing birds indoors when possible to further prevent exposures. The Animal Health Protection Act authorizes APHIS to provide compensation to producers for birds and eggs that must be depopulated during a disease response. APHIS also provides compensation for removal activities and virus removal activities. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at

Additional context
Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza A virus that can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quails, 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, 16 in number (H1-H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, 9 in number ( N1-N9). Many different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype and can be subdivided into different strains that circulate in flyways/geographical regions. AI viruses are further classified according to their pathogenicity (low or high) – the ability of a particular virus strain to cause disease in domestic poultry.



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