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PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed that a backyard flock in Pitkin County has tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian flu virus, HPAI.

According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, this is the first case of HPAI confirmed in domestic poultry in Colorado.

The Colorado State Veterinarian’s office received a report that 35 out of 36 poultry in the flock had died. The flock did have known exposure to sick waterfowl in the previous days. The remaining lone bird was euthanized and the farm is now under quarantine.

“With the first detection of HPAI in a backyard flock in Colorado, the state veterinarian’s office is working diligently to provide information to backyard flock owners about how to protect their flocks and continue to monitor commercial operations,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin. “HPAI is a highly fatal disease that can decimate a small flock in less than 48 hours, so it is critical for bird owners to take measures that prevent the introduction and spread of the virus.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of the avian flu virus have been detected in the U.S.

What bird owners should do:

  • Poultry owners should immediately increase biodiversity in their flocks to protect their birds from HPAI. The USDA recommends checking the Defend the Flock website for helpful resources and tips.
  • Monitor your flock for clinical signs of HPAI. Monitor feed and water consumption, egg production and increased illness or sudden death.
  • Veterinarians and producers must report any suspicious disease events in poultry flocks to the state veterinarian’s office at 303-869-9130.

Any owners with sick birds or birds who have died of unknown causes can contact the Colorado Avian Health call line at 970-297-4008.