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Public Health - News

Posted on: June 21, 2022

JCPH Advisory: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Avian influenza update

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is reaching out to all county residents who keep backyard poultry flocks (chickens, geese, ducks, quails, etc.) and farm owners with poultry to alert them to a strain of avian flu that has been detected in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has been monitoring the state for reports of wild and domestic birds that have been infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as H5N1 flu. The virus has been found in wild and domestic bird populations in at least 15 counties in Colorado as of June 2022, including Jefferson County. As a precaution, residents and farmers are urged to be alert to unusual illnesses or deaths in wild and domestic birds

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza is highly contagious in birds and can cause serious illness or death in birds that acquire the infection. It is rare, but not impossible, for humans to become sick with this illness – those most at risk are people who have regular contact with domestic and wild birds. Risk to the general public is low, and foodborne risk from poultry products is negligible as long as proper food safety cooking and handling precautions are observed.

To prevent illness, residents are urged to avoid contact with sick or dead birds and avoid touching surfaces that are contaminated with feces from domestic or wild birds. The use of appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and goggles can reduce risk of becoming ill after handling sick or dead birds, or cleaning contaminated surfaces. Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling birds or cleaning their environments.

Domestic and commercial flock owners are urged to visit 
the CDPHE webpage on avian influenza for information on the virus, to view where confirmed ill bird populations have been identified and to find resources for poultry owners in Colorado. In addition, poultry flock owners should monitor all persons who are in contact with the birds for signs of illness and report it to Jefferson County Public Health at 303-232-6301.

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