Mar 29, 2022 - News

Avian flu outbreak comes for Colorado

Three snow geese in flight. Photo: Jon G. Fuller/VWPics via Getty Images

An outbreak of bird flu barreling across the country has made its way to Colorado.

Why it matters: The virus is "extremely infectious" and "often fatal" to chickens, which could raise poultry prices amid surging inflation, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Driving the news: Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials confirmed the first cases of avian influenza on March 24 in Sedgwick County among a handful of wild snow geese and Ross' geese, agency spokesperson Travis Duncan tells Axios Denver.

  • The findings prompted the Denver Zoo to move its birds indoors, including penguins, lorikeets and bald eagles, for at least 28 days due to the risk posed to the animals.

What they're saying: Experts suspect springtime migration could be contributing to the virus' rapid transmission, most likely through an uptick in infected droppings.

The big picture: No commercial or backyard flocks in Colorado have tested positive yet for the virus, USDA data shows. But concerns are growing nationwide that the fast-spreading disease could devastate the poultry industry.

What to watch: The latest strain hasn't infected humans, but virologists say those odds could increase as the virus is passed and potentially mutates.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.


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