Wausau Pilot & Review

State officials say a “highly pathogenic” avian influenza, or HPAI, has been confirmed in a Taylor County backyard flock, the first case this year and the first known inflected Wisconsin flock since last November.

Over the past month, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota have announced new cases of HPAI in domestic flocks. Flock owners are encouraged to practice strong biosecurity measures to protect their birds from the virus. This includes washing hands, disinfecting equipment, restricting access to birds, and separating new birds from existing flocks for at least 30 days. Poultry owners are asked, when possible, to keep their birds indoors.

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. 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.