Bird flu in Colorado: 1.36 million chickens are euthanized

The virus was detected at a commercial laying poultry farm with 1.36 million birds.

WELD COUNTY, Colorado — The state vet has issued a quarantine order for poultry in parts of Weld County after a deadly bird disease was discovered in a facility there.

According to a report from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the State Veterinarian’s Office received a report of an unusually high number of chickens that died in a commercial laying operation in Weld County on April 28.

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

The facility is home to 1.36 million birds and produces eggs for food, according to the report. Euthanasia of the chickens started on May 1.

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

> Video above: 9Health expert discusses bird flu detection 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 contagious and often fatal to chickens. They can spread quickly from flock to flock.

It has been found in four Colorado counties: Weld, Pitkin, Montrose, and La Plata. It has affected 1.42 million commercial chickens and 74 garden chickens, according to the report. Before the Weld County detection, the largest operation affected was a flock of 60,000 birds in Montrose County.

RELATED: Tens of Thousands of Birds Euthanized After Avian 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 have close contact with sick birds, and it’s rare for the disease to spread from person to person. No human cases of HPAI have ever been reported in the US

RELATED: Yes, Bird Flu Is Spreading in the U.S., But Human Infections Are Rare

The state vet agency has asked all poultry and bird owners to take steps to keep the disease out of Colorado’s domestic poultry.

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

Commercial poultry and poultry farmers in Weld County are encouraged to report the status of their flocks here.

RELATED: Yes, Bird Flu Is Spreading in the U.S., But Human Infections Are Rare

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