Avian Influenza Strikes Barron County

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has identified a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial flock in Barron County.

This is the third case in Wisconsin this year following a backyard flock in Taylor County and another commercial flock in Trempealeau County.

DATCP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working closely with animal health officials on a joint incident response. Poultry products will not move from the affected premise. The property will depopulate the birds to prevent the spread of disease.

Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPAI does not present an immediate public health concern. HPAI also does not pose a food safety risk; properly handling and cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills the virus.

DATCP continues to urge all poultry owners to implement strong biosecurity measures to protect their birds from the disease: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/BasicBiosecurity.aspx

HPAI viruses are highly contagious and often fatal to domestic poultry. The disease can be spread by contact with infected birds, commingling with wild birds or their droppings, equipment, or clothing worn by anyone working with the animals. Signs of HPAI 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

DATCP reminds Wisconsin poultry owners to register their premises: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/PremisesRegistration.aspx

State law requires that all livestock owners register where their animals are kept. Registration helps animal health officials communicate with flock owners during disease outbreaks.