SEDGWICK COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The first confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been found in wild Snow and Ross’s geese at Jumbo Reservoir.

Dead birds collected by Colorado Parks and Wildlife on March 17 were necropsied and the samples were sent to the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the results of the positive test on March 24.

“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,” Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin said. “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.”  

Officials said avian influenza hasn’t been found in any commercial or domestic poultry but it is highly contagious and deadly to chickens. Certain strains of the virus can be passed on to humans who come in direct contact with the dead animals, but there isn’t a food safety threat if poultry and eggs are cooked properly.

CPW is asking anyone who finds three or more dead wild birds in a specific area within a two-week period or any live birds showing signs of disease, to contact the local office.