Bird flu in Colorado: 1.36 million chickens to be euthanized

The virus was detected in a commercial table-laying operation that housed 1.36 million birds.

WELD COUNTY, Colo. – The state veterinarian issued a quarantine order for poultry in parts of Weld County after a deadly bird disease was detected at a facility there.

According to a Colorado Department of Agriculture report, the state veterinarian’s office received a report of an unusually high number of dead chickens in a commercial egg-laying operation in Weld County on April 28.

The detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), a type of bird flu, was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory the next day, the report said.

The facility houses 1.36 million birds and produces eggs for consumption, according to the report. The euthanasia of chickens began on May 1.

People who don’t interact directly with birds are unlikely to catch the virus and well-cooked poultry is still safe to eat, experts say.

> Video above: A 9Health expert discusses the detection of bird flu in Colorado.

The quarantine order is intended to limit the movement of birds in and out of the area, the report said.

HPAI virus strains are extremely infectious and often fatal to chickens. They can spread quickly from herd to herd.

It has been detected in four counties in Colorado: Weld, Pitkin, Montrose and La Plata. It affected 1.42 million commercial chickens and 74 backyard poultry, according to the report. Prior to Weld County’s detection, the largest farm affected was a flock of 60,000 birds in Montrose County.

RELATED: Tens of Thousands of Birds Euthanized After Bird Flu Found in 2 Colorado Counties

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this strain of bird flu can be fatal to humans, but these infections only occur when people come into close contact with sick birds, and it is rare for the disease spreads from human to human. No cases of HPAI in humans have ever been reported in the United States

RELATED: Yes, a strain of bird flu is spreading in the US, but infections in humans are rare

The State Veterinarian’s Office has asked all poultry and bird owners to take steps to keep the disease away from domestic fowl in Colorado.

RELATED: Bird Flu in Colorado: How to Protect Your Flocks

Weld County commercial and backyard poultry owners are encouraged to report the status of their flocks here.

RELATED: Yes, a strain of bird flu is spreading in the US, but infections in humans are rare

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