Colorado layer farm hit with HPAI

July 11, 2024

A commercial layer farm in Weld County, CO, is the latest to experience an HPAI detection since the virus was first found in dairy cattle.  Since April 2, 2024, a total of seven layer farms have been impacted in five states, affecting over 15.72 million birds. Dairy detections continue to rise, now reaching a total of 145 herds in 12 states, with Colorado leading the nation with 30 herds. Click here to view the latest livestock detections.

Since the beginning of 2022, 1,163 poultry premises have been infected with 505 commercial and 658 backyard flocks, totaling 99.09 million birds. Total layer detections since 2022 have risen to 75.65 million birds, reaching 61 premises.

The increasing threat since the virus has been found in dairy cattle remains of paramount concern to the industry. All producers experiencing HPAI detections since April 2, 2024, have reported positive dairies in their states. There remains a significant lack of transparency on the exact location of positive dairies, with the degree of notification and information-sharing varying from state to state – leaving poultry farms vulnerable to the unknown status of neighboring herds and the potential risk they pose.

Peridomestic birds (such as wrens and starlings)  and other animals, including rodents, remain a great risk to the virus' potential movement. On an infected poultry premise in New Mexico, a large percentage of mice tested within the facility were positive for the HPAI virus. USDA Wildlife Services is currently conducting surveillance testing of rodents, peridomestic birds, and other wildlife in and around positive poultry and dairy farms in several states to learn more.

Biosecurity remains our greatest defense in prevention of introduction of HPAI on farms. The industry continues to spend millions of dollars to leverage all available resources to continue protecting flocks. More research into the movement of this virus in the context of continuing dairy cases is necessary to gain a more comprehensive understanding of transmission and potential control measures.

UEP has strongly urged APHIS to notify nearby poultry producers of the location of infected dairies. However, APHIS asserts that its powers are limited because HPAI in dairies is not classified as a foreign animal disease for various reasons.