Avian Flu invading the flock


Dauntae Green, Managing Editor

In Jefferson and Rock Counties, there has been a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) confirmed last month by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

Samples were taken from area farms and tested by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory where the cases were confirmed.  This would be Wisconsin’s second HPAI case in domestic flock this year. As a precaution, the birds in the area have been depopulated in order to stop the spread of the disease.

“The HPAI does not pose an instant public health concern. HPAI also isn’t a threat to food safety as long as you are properly handling and cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature 165 F, which kills the virus,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Jefferson County during March of 2022 there were 2,757,767 poultry at the operations of commercial layers, but now is depopulated. In April of 2022, there were 22 poultry in Rock County at the operation of the backyard and is now depopulated. 

The HPAI virus is a form of avian influenza that is known to be highly contagious and can be fatal to domestic poultry. It spreads through contact with infected birds, equipment and clothing worn by those who work with animals. The symptoms of HPAI in infected birds are sudden death without clinical signs shown, less egg production, lack of energy, and purple discoloration in wattles, comb and legs. In humans, symptoms include trouble breathing, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, stumbling and diarrhea. 

The Wisconsin DATCP pushes poultry owners to register their premises and practice enhancing biosecurity. They were told to move the domestic birds indoors to prevent contact with wild birds and their droppings. Contact the DATCP if there are increased signs or mortality among the birds at 608-224-4872 during business hours or 800-943-0003 after hours and on weekends.

For more information visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/20220402HPAIRockCounty.aspx, https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/HPAIWisconsin.aspx.