The state has lifted the last six quarantines for poultry operations in the state, following an outbreak of avian influenza this spring that forced the destruction of more than a million turkeys and chickens in Wisconsin.
The move comes after the final six premises were tested and cleared for signs of the highly pathogenic avian influenza, which hit ten poultry operations in the state earlier this year. Division of Animal Health spokeswoman Raechelle Belli says four of the sites were in Barron County and two were in Jefferson County, which were cleared after a lengthy cleaning and disinfection process, and sampling of the property to make sure they were rid of the virus.
All of the operations had to destroy their flocks earlier this year and had been shut down during the quarantine period. Belli says they will now be allowed to resume operations and repopulate with new birds.
While no new cases of bird flu have been found since this spring, officials are urging operators to be watchful this fall. The virus is believed to have been spread across the Midwest by migratory birds. As the weather cools and those birds begin moving again, poultry operations should consider limiting the exposure of their flocks by keeping them isolated or in covered pens. Belli says operators should also institute biosecurity measures, to prevent the virus from being spread from area to another by farm workers.
The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection plans to reach out to poultry owners this fall, with informational sessions on steps they can take to reduce the risk of exposing their flocks to the virus.