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Avian flu confirmed in Grand County

Director of Public Health cautions public to avoid deceased birds

The avian flu is highly contagious and particularly dangerous for domesticated poultry such as chickens.
Meg Soyars/Sky-Hi News
The avian flu is highly contagious and particularly dangerous for domesticated poultry such as chickens.
Meg Soyars/Sky-Hi News

Eight Canada geese and one turkey vulture were discovered dead along the Colorado River this month. The birds were detected to have the highly contagious avian influenza, HPAI, also known as H5N1. The birds were removed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“A word of advice, do not approach if you see dead birds. Please contact professionals to investigate the situation,” said Grand County Director of Public Health Abbie Baker.

In Colorado, there has been one case of an individual contracting avian flu from an infected bird. The case occurred in Delta County in April, when an individual came in direct contact with the diseased poultry by doing culling at a commercial farm. The individual did not experience any severe symptoms, and there was no other transmission following this.



For a person to catch the avian flu, they must be in direct contact with a diseased bird. The virus can enter someone’s system through their eyes, nose, or mouth, so proper protection is necessary.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife will use PPE to remove deceased birds, including masks, eye googles, and gloves in order to retrieve these birds,” said Baker.



So far, there has been no sign of interspecies transmission in Grand, such as a fox catching avian flu from eating a dead bird. Overall, the risk of humans catching avian flu is very low.

“There were four professionals in Grand County that were exposed to the deceased birds, but through the observation period, none of them experienced any symptoms, and there was no reason to believe transmission had occurred,” Baker said. “So far there’s been no bird-to-human transmission in Grand County.”


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