Colorado, North Carolina poultry operations confirm avian flu

Both states report virus in commercial operations after approximately two years.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

February 14, 2024

1 Min Read
Getty Images/ iStock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on two additional commercial poultry operations—one in Colorado and one in North Carolina.

A commercial broiler breeder operation of 66,500 birds in Delta County, Colorado, is being depopulated after the virus was recently detected. This is the first large commercial operation in the state affected by the virus since December 2022.

North Carolina also reported its first commercial case after nearly two years in a turkey operation of 32,500 birds in Lenoir County.

The two operations bring the total number of birds affected by HPAI in the U.S. since February 2022 to 81.90 million birds. Fortunately, detections in commercial poultry operations have dwindled over the past month after almost 20 million commercial poultry were depopulated from November to December 2023.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. The virus can survive for weeks in contaminated environments. Wild birds can carry the virus without becoming sick, while domesticated birds can become very sick and die.

Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms.

Materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit are available here.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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