Avian flu confirmed in Wisconsin wild bird populations

Third Nebraska farm affected by bird flu
Third Nebraska farm affected by bird flu(10/11 NOW)
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 2:32 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin officials confirm Thursday that a strain of avian flu has been identified in wild birds, including in the south central region of the state.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources revealed samples were collected from various birds, including a Cooper’s hawk and a bald eagle in Dane County. Officials also sampled a lesser scaup from Columbia County, a red-tailed hawk from Grant County, a Canada goose from Milwaukee County and a trumpeter swan from Polk County.

The DNR explained that the virus strain, EA H5N1, is highly pathogenic for poultry. Highly pathogenic means the virus has a high potential to kill domestic birds such as chickens, turkeys and ducks.

The virus strain has caused disease in both domestic and wild birds in multiple states since it was first detected in North America in December of 2021.

This announcement from the DNR follows preliminary results of positive cases found by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center.

According to the CDC, this strain of avian influenza does not show an immediate health concern for people and no cases have been found in humans in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that cases of the bird flu were present March 14 in a commercial chicken operation in Jefferson County. This was Wisconsin’s first confirmed case of the bird flu since 2015, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Anyone who sees sick birds experiencing tremors, doing circling movements or holding their heads in an unusual position are urged to call the DNR Wildlife Hotline at 608-267-0866 or emailing DNRWildlifeSwitchboard@wi.gov. Witnesses to sick or dead birds are asked to minimize contact with them and not touch them with their bare hands.

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