The Kansas Department of Agriculture is asking people with backyard poultry flocks in Leavenworth County to report them so they can be monitored for avian flu.
A flock of chickens and ducks in Leavenworth County was killed Saturday after the birds were found to be infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N2. KDA reported it has established a “control zone” around the area where the flock lived. The flock had experienced higher-than-expected bird deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Iowa confirmed H5N2 in the samples.
KDA is asking poultry owners to report their flocks so they can more easily monitor the situation and prevent birds from spreading the disease. To report your flock, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (844) 255-7794. Birds won’t be killed if they aren’t infected.
Beth Gaines, spokeswoman for KDA, said the agency has set up a three-mile infection monitoring zone around the affected area. Maps will be available soon, and crews will look for flocks that should be monitored as a precaution, she said. KDA hasn’t seen any evidence other flocks were infected.
“Our survey crews will be going out and canvassing the area,” she said.
The Centers for Disease Control reported Friday that it considered the likelihood of human infection with the strain found in Kansas to be low, and no human infections have been reported so far. Cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit destroys influenza and any food-borne illnesses that might be present, according to USDA.
Domesticated birds infected with H5N2 experience symptoms like coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing and decreased egg production. Some die suddenly.
If your poultry is showing signs of illness, contact KDA or your veterinarian for help with the protocals to quarantine a flock and, if necessary, properly kill and dispose of infected birds, Gaines said.
Cases of H5N2 have been confirmed in Missouri, Arkansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Many wild birds carry the disease, and can transmit it through contact with livestock or sharing a food or water source. The Leavenworth County case isn’t believed to be related to the Missouri case, Gaines said.
KDA advised poultry owners to keep their flocks away from wild birds, to isolate any new animals brought into the flock and to disinfect tires, equipment and clothing when they enter and leave the farm.
For more information, visit www.agriculture.ks.gov/avianinfluenza.