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Avian Influenza Confirmed in Shawnee County

KSAL StaffOctober 21, 2022

State agriculture officials are confirming a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Topeka.

Accodsing to the Kansas Department of Agriculture has identified a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a backyard flock in Shawnee County. This is the third confirmed case of HPAI in Kansas this fall; there were six cases in March and April for a total of nine counties across the state affected so far in 2022.

“The widespread nature of the positive premises in Kansas is proof that all counties are susceptible to HPAI because the risk is from the wild birds traveling across the state,” said Dr. Justin Smith, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner. “If you have not yet taken steps to protect your backyard flocks, now is the time to take this threat seriously.”

This confirmed case is in a non-commercial mixed species flock, and KDA is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on a joint incident response. KDA officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property have been depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease.

KDA asks anyone who owns poultry in the following area on the north side of Topeka to contact the KDA phone bank at 833-765-2006 or email them at [email protected] to work with state and local officials to prevent further spread of the disease. You can also self-report your birds at https://fs22.formsite.com/KansasDeptAg/zlb9fcr9oc/index.html.

Reporting area: Please contact KDA or report online if your home/farm sits in this area: from S. 21st Street (to the south) to 94th Street (to the north) between Highway 4 (to the east) and Humphrey Road (to the west). The area does include the north half of Topeka as well as the towns of Elmont and Menoken. It does not include Silver Lake, Meriden or Hoyt.

KDA advises owners of backyard poultry flocks to be particularly vigilant in protecting their birds. Analysis of this outbreak of HPAI has shown that the spread has been primarily from wild migratory waterfowl, which makes free-range backyard flocks at high risk because of the potential of exposure to the wild birds.

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. 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. 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 public health risk associated with these avian influenza detections in birds remains low. 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.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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