Highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in Rock County backyard flock

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has announced a confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The second confirmed case in a domestic flock in Wisconsin this year, the HPAI was found in a backyard flock in Rock County.

The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory tested samples from the Rock County flock and the National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the findings. Birds on the property have been depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease as DATCP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) work closely with animal health officials on a joint response.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPAI does not present an immediate public health concern or a food safety risk. The proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees kills the virus.

Although not harmful to humans, HPAI viruses are a form of avian influenza that are highly contagious and often fatal to domestic poultry. HPAI can be spread by contact with infected birds, equipment, or clothing worn by those working with the animals.

Poultry owners are encouraged to register their premises and practice enhanced biosecurity. Moving birds indoors when possible can help prevent contact with wild birds and their droppings.

To report increased mortality or signs of illness among domestic birds, contact DATCP at 608-224-4872 during business hours or 800-943-0003 after hours or on weekends.

Signs of HPAI in infected birds include:

• 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