Jefferson County, Colo. — Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) and The Colorado Department of Agriculture [external link], have continued to monitor for reports of wild and domestic birds that have been infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as H5N1 flu. On Monday, October 17, 2022 samples submitted to the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory tested presumptive positive for HPAI in a backyard poultry flock in Jefferson County and a quarantine order was issued [external link] to limit the movement of birds in and out of the area.
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, and foodborne risk from poultry products, is low as long as the products are handled and cooked properly. No human cases of avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.
As a precaution, residents and farmers are urged to report sick birds or unusual deaths in wild and domestic birds, 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.
For more information, including geographic maps, information on how to protect your flock and a form to report the status of your flock, please visit The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website [external link].
Bird owners struggling with stress or anxiety around HPAI can contact Colorado Crisis Services by calling 1-844-494-TALK (8255) or texting TALK to 38255. Farmers and ranchers can receive a voucher for six free sessions with an ag-competent provider through the Colorado Agricultural Addiction and Mental Health Program [external link].