Centennial, Colo. – May 4, 2022 – The outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) across the United States and in Colorado continues to grow and expand. To provide a coordinated state response and reduce the spread of HPAI, Governor Polis issued a verbal state of emergency on April 29, 2022 at 6:41 p.m. and established a Unified Command Group (UCG) to facilitate the State response. 

The UCG is led by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and supported by the Colorado Department of Public Safety and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center transitioned to level 2 operations to support the increased activity of HPAI and provide support to the UCG. 

The goal of the HPAI UCG is to establish a structure to effectively respond to any new detections of HPAI in Colorado. Colorado is following best practices from other states, which have also established formal structures to respond to HPAI outbreaks.  

HPAI has a mortality rate in birds of 90%-100% within just a few days, so poultry owners across Colorado are advised to review and increase their biosecurity measures and monitor their flocks for clinical signs of HPAI. Bird owners should immediately report any illness or death in their flocks to the Colorado State Veterinarian’s office. 

Clinical signs of HPAI in birds 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; sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea.  

CDA is coordinating with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and state and local partners for response. To see additional resources for bird owners and to track confirmed cases, visit ag.colorado.gov/hpai.

Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly. CDA and USDA are working together to protect Colorado and the nation’s food supply from contamination or adulteration.

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.