Avian Flu


What is Avian Flu?

Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by a group of influenza A viruses. These viruses naturally circulate in wild waterfowl and shorebirds, which typically carry the viruses without showing any signs of disease. Most of these avian influenza viruses are considered low-pathogenic (LPAI) strains that cause little or no clinical signs in any species. However, LPAI strains may naturally mutate into strains that do cause severe disease in birds (and sometimes other species). These disease-causing strains are the highly pathogenic (HPAI) strains that have caused severe disease and high mortality in birds, especially domestic poultry.

Protect yourself from Avian Flu

  • As a general precaution, whenever possible people should avoid direct contact with wild birds and observe them only from a distance.
  • Wild birds can be infected with avian (bird) influenza (flu) A viruses even if they don’t look sick.
  • Avoid unprotected contact with domestic birds (poultry) that look sick or have died.
  • Do not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with saliva, mucous, or feces from wild or domestic birds.

What To Do If You Find a Sick or Dead Bird

It is critical to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths

  • Sick birds or birds that have died from unknown causes:
    • Call the Avian Health Hotline at Colorado State University (CSU): (970) 297-4008
  • Dead birds:
    • Submit to the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins for HPAI Testing: (970) 297-4008 or (970) 297-1281
  • Multiple sick domestic birds or multiple unusual domestic bird deaths:
    • Call the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office (303) 869-9130 or the USDA-Veterinary Services Colorado Office (303) 231-5385
  • Wild Birds
    • If you find three or more dead wild birds in a specific area within a two week period OR if you see live birds showing clinical signs of disease, please contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.

      Pueblo Colorado Parks and Wildlife Office (719) 561-5300

If local authorities tell you to throw away the bird’s carcass (body), don’t touch it with your bare hands. Use gloves or a plastic bag turned inside out to place the body in a garbage bag, which can then be thrown away in your regular trash.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Map

More Resources

CDC Bird Flu Exposure Handout

CDPHE Avian/Bird Flu Information

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Avian Flu Information

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Fact Sheet