DURANGO, Colo. (KRQE) – The United States Department of Agriculture said it has confirmed the detection of Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a poultry operation in La Plata County. The State Veterinarian’s Office was notified by a flock owner about an increase in sickness and death in a flock of birds on April 14. Flock samples were sent to Colorado State University for testing and HPAI was confirmed on April 20. The flock was euthanized after many birds became significantly sick.

Officials say bird flu does not pose a food safety risk. Poultry and eggs are safe to eat as long as they are handled and cooked properly. No human cases of bird flu have been detected in the United States.

In birds, HPAI has a mortality rate of 90%-100% within a few days. Poultry owners across Colorado are advised to review their flocks for signs of bird flu which include:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Lack of energy or appetite
  • Decreased egg production
  • Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling or purple discoloration of head, eyelids, comb, or hocks

Bird owners should immediately report any illness or death in their flocks to the Colorado State Veterinarian’s office.