Highly contagious Avian flu seen in Kansas birds and cattle this year. Here’s the latest.


The lethal and highly contagious avian influenza has been detected this year in birds and cattle in Kansas.

The disease, also known as “bird flu” and H5N1, has infected only one Kansas flock of birds in recent months, after infecting 15 in December and January, said the website of the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

The disease was additionally identified as being present in two Kansas commercial dairy herds in March and two more in April, the KDA said.

What Kansas counties have avian flu hit this year?

Federal guidelines require all birds to be destroyed in any flock where HPAI is detected to try to slow the spread of the disease and alleviate the birds’ suffering, said Heather Landsdowne, KDA’s director of communications.

Symptoms among birds 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; a lack of coordination; and diarrhea.

Avian flu between Dec. 4 and Jan. 19 affected five flocks in Mitchell County in north-central Kansas, four in Rice County in central Kansas, two each in McPherson and Barton counties in central Kansas and one each in Shawnee and Pottawatomie counties in northeast Kansas, the KDA website said.

The KDA quarantined all 15 premises involved but has since lifted those quarantines, it said.

Avian flu was then detected April 9 in a flock in Grant County in southwest Kansas, which remains under quarantine, the KDA said.

What about dairy cattle?

The KDA announced March 25 that the first two cases of avian flu in Kansas commercial dairy operations had been identified.

Two additional Kansas herds reported positive tests for bird flu in early April, the KDA said April 29, adding that the illnesses weren’t expected to pose a risk to the public. Dairies may only sell milk from healthy cows.

The KDA didn’t reveal the locations where avian flu was found in dairy cattle.

Avian flu symptoms are restricted mostly to late-stage lactating cows and include a drop in milk production, loss of appetite, and changes in manure consistency, it said.

What’s the risk of avian flu to people?

The risk of Avian flu to people is thought to be low.


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