April 21, 2015

Wisconsin National Guard to help with Avian flu

The National Guard is being called upon to help with the Avian Flu outbreak. Governor Scott Walker signed the order.

Avian influenza virus has been detected in three Wisconsin poultry flocks, affecting tens of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

State Veterinarian Paul McGraw announced a ban late Friday to prohibit moving poultry to shows, exhibitions, and swap meets in Jefferson, Barron, and Juneau counties. There is no threat to humans. The state veterinarian, through DATCP, requested up to 14 Guard personnel be made available for immediate assistance.

Assistance from the Wisconsin National Guard is necessary because federal resources are thin, due to avian influenza virus outbreaks in other states, particularly in the Midwest.

Wisconsin agriculture officials ban poultry movement in three counties

File photo: DACTP

File photo: DACTP

State officials have ordered a ban on moving poultry in three Wisconsin counties.

State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw ordered the ban Friday on moving poultry to shows, exhibitions, and swap meets in Jefferson, Juneau, and Barron counties – all counties where the H5N2 avian influenza virus was recently found. Additionally, anyone owning a flock that is enrolled in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), a flock that qualifies as an affiliate flock under the NPIP, or a flock that is enrolled as a Wisconsin tested flock or associate flock are also prohibited from movement to shows, exhibitions or swap meets in the three counties.

Wisconsin has three confirmed cases of avian influenza in the state since the virus was first found in the Midwest in March. Commercial poultry producers, backyard flock owners and poultry exhibitioners are being told to restrict poultry exposure to wild birds. Producers should also wash hands before and after handling poultry, and use dedicated clothing and boots when working with poultry, and when cleaning and disinfecting cages and equipment.


Humans not at risk from Avian flu, domestic poultry affected

A state spokesperson says the current outbreak of Avian flu in Wisconsin is not likely a threat to humans, but it is a threat to domestic poultry.

Fourty birds in a backyard flock in Juneau county and 126,000 turkeys in a commercial setting have been affected so far. Raechelle Cline from the Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection says the flu is spread from wild birds to domestic birds. She says while it has proven fatal to domestic poultry, it hasn’t killed wild birds. “Anyone who owns a backyard poultry flock or who is a commercial producer of poultry will make sure to practice proper biosecurity to prevent contact between wild birds and their birds.”

The H5 avian influenza virus was first detected in Wisconsin at a commercial chicken flock in Jefferson County on Monday. More than 180,000 egg laying chickens are likely to be affected. A backyard flock in Juneau County with about 40 various types of birds and a farm in Barron County with 126,000 turkies are being quarantined, and all the birds are being killed to prevent the disease from spreading.

Cline says the H5N2 avian flu is spread from wild birds to domestic ones through feces. “The wild bird can carry the virus from place to place, but they don’t tend to die from the virus like the domestic poultry do so you wouldn’t know that a wild bird is carrying the virus.”

Multiple outbreaks of avian influenza have occurred most recently in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, the Dakotas and Kansas leading to the depopulation of more than 1 million turkeys and chickens since January. Officials say the problem does not put the food supply or public health at risk.


Avian influenza found in Juneau and Barron counties

File photo: DACTP

File photo: DACTP

Following the first reported case earlier this week in Jefferson County, officials with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says poultry flocks in Juneau and Barron counties have tested positive for a deadly strain of avian influenza.

The Barron County infection involves a flock of 126,000 turkey at a commercial operation, while the Juneau County case impacts 40 mixed breed birds in a backyard flock.

State and federal officials have quarantined both properties and the birds are being destroyed. Neighboring properties with poultry will also be under observation.

The strain of the virus, which is fatal in poultry, has not been found to have caused any disease in humans and is not expected to pose a risk to public health or the nation’s food supply. The virus has been found in several other states, including outbreaks in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, the Dakotas and Kansas, and has resulted in the destruction of more than one million turkey and chickens since January.

Wisconsin is latest state to report avian influenza

usdaA 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.