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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Foothills Animal Shelter has received a positive test for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus (HPAI). The Shelter is working with the State Veterinarian and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) following this outcome and will continue our work to keep the people and animals in our community safe.

With this test result and the Shelter’s priority to be a trusted resource for our community, we wanted to share some additional information about the HPAI virus and how this might impact you and your flock at home.

What is HPAI?

According to the USDA, HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can infect poultry like chickens, ducks, and geese. The Colorado Department of Agriculture reports that HPAI has a mortality rate of 90%-100% within just a few days. Poultry owners should monitor their flocks for signs of illness and immediately report any suspicious illnesses or deaths to the State Veterinarian at 303.869.9130. Learn more about the symptoms of illness for Avian Influenza here.

How can I keep my birds safe?

The USDA Defend the Flock program includes resources and tips on keeping your backyard birds safe from HPAI. You can read more on their website. Click here to read more. 

Colorado Crisis Services is available to support bird owners who may be experiencing stress or anxiety around HPAI at 1-844-494-TALK or by texting talk to 38255.

Is HPAI contagious to people?

While HPAI is contagious to people, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) classifies the virus as a low transmission risk to humans. Still, it is important to use caution when interacting with fowl and other birds and never directly touch deceased birds without using personal protective equipment. Read more about the prevention of bird flu viruses from the CDC website here.


Colorado State University HPAI Info Sheet

USDA Defend the Flock Program

Colorado Department of Agriculture – Avian Influenza


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