A highly pathogenic avian influenza has been found in Wisconsin. The H5N2 avian influenza has been confirmed in a commercial flock of 200,000 chickens in Jefferson County, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The flock is located within the Mississippi flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified. Samples from the chicken flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, which confirmed the findings.
Federal authorities are working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection on a joint incident response. “We are following strict protocols to contain and eliminate the disease,” said Dr. Paul McGraw, Wisconsin’s State Veterinarian. “Now that we have a confirmation, it’s in a poultry owner’s best interest to take precautions to minimize the effect that this strain of avian influenza will have on their flock.”
State officials quarantined the Jefferson County premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. The Federal Centers for Disease Control considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time.
Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry and is carried by free flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds.