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KDA Advises Poultry Owners to Watch for Avian Influenza

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MANHATTAN, Kansas — The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health encourages poultry owners, with both commercial and backyard flocks, to take steps to protect their flocks from avian influenza by monitoring their birds for symptoms and by implementing biosecurity practices.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is a highly contagious viral disease that can infect chickens, turkeys, and other birds and can cause severe illness and/or sudden death. HPAI has been identified in backyard flocks as well as commercial operations in neighboring states; it has not been detected in Kansas.

“Protecting the poultry in the state is a high priority, and we need all poultry owners to be part of the effort to prevent the spread of disease in Kansas,” said Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith. “Our best defense is to follow strict biosecurity practices and vigilantly monitor birds for any signs of illness.”

Biosecurity refers to practices that prevent possible contamination. For poultry, biosecurity practices include:

  • Prevent contact with wild birds, especially wild waterfowl.
  • Restrict unauthorized people and vehicles.
  • Cover and enclose outdoor feeding areas, and cover stored feed.
  • Clean and disinfect any vehicle tires or equipment that has been on other farms or other locations where there is poultry or wild birds.
  • Wear clean clothing, boots and shoes when in contact with your flock.
  • Isolate new birds.

Symptoms of HPAI 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 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 at 785-564-6601.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk. Poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly.

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 flock. 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, 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 the KDA’s avian influenza webpage at agriculture.ks.gov/AvianInfluenza or call 785-564-6601.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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