Avian flu has been detected in Larimer County, according to county health officials, posing a threat to bird populations and a small threat to humans.
“In a flock of domestic birds, avian influenza is a fast-spreading and deadly virus, with a mortality rate of more than 90% in just a few days,” Larimer County Department of Health and Environment spokesperson Kori Wilford wrote in a press release issued Tuesday. “While the risk of (avian influenza) to humans is low, people can become infected, so the public is asked not to touch any dead or sick wild birds.”
Bird owners, especially those with domestic backyard flocks, are encouraged by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to take extra precautions, including keeping a closed flock, decreasing interactions between domestic and wild birds and keeping feed and water away from wild birds.
Avian flu can spread quickly, and often without symptoms, the county said, but signs can 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, hocks, nasal discharge, coughing or sneezing, lack of coordination and diarrhea.
“Avian flu continues to affect wild and domestic birds across Colorado,” said Colorado State Veterinarian Maggie Baldwin in the county’s press release. “With wild bird migration beginning soon, we anticipate that we will see an increase in virus activity though late winter and spring. While we have seen high mortality in wild birds, they can also be infected with avian flu without appearing sick, which is why biosecurity is so important.”
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