MADISON – A case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), otherwise known as “bird flu,” has been confirmed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in Racine County.

For this case, samples were sent in and tested by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and then confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories. The birds from that property were depopulated as a preventative measure to halt the spread of the disease.

Cases Increase in Wisconsin Counties

Racine County joins Jefferson and Rock Counties in Wisconsin with confirmed cases of HPAI among domestic birds. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced in March that five counties in Wisconsin – Dane, Columbia, Grant, Milwaukee and Polk – were found to have confirmed cases of HPAI in the wild bird population. At that time, owners of poultry were asked to use “strong biosecurity practices” as well as move their flocks indoors where possible.

Migration of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

This confirmation comes after the Illinois Department of Agriculture had reported the first HPAI in Canadian Geese in Will County, Ill. in early March, followed by confirmation of HPAI in a “non-commercial backyard flock (non-poultry) in McLean County” on March 14.

Just over two weeks later, Illinois has filed for an emergency ruling that prohibits the sale/exhibiting of poultry or poultry products to help prevent the spread of HPAI.

Proactive Measures and State Laws

The Wisconsin DATCP is encouraging all poultry owners to make sure their premises are registered. Wisconsin requires all owners of livestock to register where their livestock is kept as this helps animal health officials when a disease outbreak occurs.

Signs of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza 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

If you find increased mortality or signs of illness among your flocks of domestic birds, report it to DATCP at 608-224-4872 during business hours, or call 1-800-943-0003 after hours or on weekends.

For more information on highly pathogenic avian influenza, the following resources have been provided by DATCP:

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