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Highly pathogenic bird flu found in Johnson, Neosho counties


PITTSBURG, Kan. — Fall has brought a nationwide resurgence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, and last week the Kansas Department of Agriculture identified HPAI in two Kansas counties: Johnson County and Neosho County. 

Both new HPAI locations are in non-commercial mixed species flocks, and KDA is working closely with USDA–APHIS on a joint incident response. KDA officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on both properties will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. 

Anyone involved with poultry production, from the small backyard chicken owner to the large commercial producer, should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds, KDA said. Find guidance on biosecurity on the KDA Division of Animal Health webpage at agriculture.ks.gov/AvianInfluenza.  

Highly pathogenic avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that can infect chickens, turkeys and other birds and can cause severe illness and/or sudden death in infected birds. This outbreak has seen illness and mortality in a wider scope of bird species than past outbreaks, including wild and domestic waterfowl. Attentively monitor your birds for symptoms of HPAI which include: coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and other signs of respiratory distress; lack of energy and appetite; decreased water consumption; decreased egg production and/or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; incoordination; and diarrhea. Avian influenza can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing other symptoms. 

If these symptoms are observed in your birds, immediately contact your veterinarian, the KDa said. If you don’t have a regular veterinarian, contact KDA’s Division of Animal Health office toll-free at 833-765-2006. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. Birds and eggs from the infected flock will not enter the food system. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165°F is recommended as a general food safety precaution. 

As part of existing avian influenza response plans, federal and state partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in areas around the affected flocks. The United States has the strongest avian influenza surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations and live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations. 

For more information about HPAI, including current status of the confirmed cases in other states as well as more information about biosecurity for your flock, go to KDA’s avian influenza webpage at agriculture.ks.gov/AvianInfluenza or call KDA at 833-765-2006.