bird flu

Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu Detected in Wisconsin Poultry Flock

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The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture confirmed Monday a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly referred to as "bird flu," in a commercial poultry flock in the state's Jefferson Country.

"The affected premises will not move poultry products, and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease," officials said in a release. "Birds from the flock will not enter the food system."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent detection doesn't present an immediate health concern, and no human cases of avian influenza viruses have been reported in the U.S.

Bird flu also does not pose a food safety risk, the CDC noted, as cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees kills the virus.

This case of bird flu is Wisconsin's first since 2015.

State officials reminded those working with birds to practice enhanced biosecurity and move birds indoors, when possible, to prevent contact with wild birds and droppings.

Here are some signs of HPAI in infected birds:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Lack of energy or appetite
  • Decrease in egg production; soft, misshapen eggs
  • Purple discoloration of wattles, comb, and legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose, coughing, sneezing
  • Stumbling or falling down
  • Diarrhea

On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture urged bird owners and those involved in poultry production to take measures to protect flocks after a test confirmed the presence of avian flu in central Illinois.

State agriculture employees quarantine the affected premises, and birds on the properties were set to be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease, according to the USDA.

Samples from the affected flock were sent to the University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and results were confirmed at the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds, the USDA said.

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