JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu, has been detected in at least 15 Colorado counties, and now public health officials in the Denver metro are warning residents.

Jefferson County Public Health is alerting residents and farmers that they need to be monitoring for any unusual illness or death in wild or domestic chickens, geese, ducks, quail and more.

Even though transmission from infected birds to humans is rare, the health department wants residents to know they may be at risk if they spend a lot of time and have regular contact with poultry.

Here are tips to reduce the risk of transmission

  • Avoid contact with sick or dead birds
  • Avoid touching surfaces with contaminated bird feces
  • Use personal protective equipment like gloves and masks when handling sick birds
  • Always wash your hands with soap after handling contaminated birds

Bird owners can learn more about bird flu in Colorado on the state health department’s website.