A deadly strain of avian flu sweeping through flocks across the country has been found in Colorado.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the presence of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) H5N1 in Pitkin County, This is the first case of HPAI in domestic poultry in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

As of Saturday, this strain of avian flu has been reported in 31 states including Colorado, according to USDA. 

Officials learned from a Pitkin County veterinarian that 35 of 36 poultry died in a flock. Test samples were sent to Colorado State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for preliminary testing and then to the national lab on Friday.

The birds were known to have been exposed to a sick waterfowl days before dying. This detection does not present an immediate public health concern as no human cases have been confirmed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"With the first detection of HPAI in a backyard flock in Colorado, the State Veterinarian's office is working diligently to provide information to backyard flock owners about how to protect their flocks and continue to monitor commercial operations," said State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin in a news release. "CDA and USDA field staff will be performing outreach activities in the surrounding area to increase awareness of the risk for the disease."

Officials are asking backyard flock owners to immediately increase biosecurity measures on their properties that includes keeping a closed flock, decreasing interactions between domestic and wild birds and keeping feed away from wild birds.

Anyone who believes their birds may be infected should contact their local veterinarian or the Colorado Avian Health call line at 970-297-4008. People who find three or more dead wild birds in a specific area within a two week period are urged to contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

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