County Ag News

Bird Flu – Three Cases in Wisconsin

The H5 avian influenza virus was first detected in Wisconsin at a commercial chicken flock in Jefferson County on Monday, April 13, which will result in the depopulation of more than 180,000 egg-laying chickens. 

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. Since then the H5 avian influenza has been found in a backyard flock of 40 chickens in Juneau County and also in a commercial turkey flock of 126,000 turkeys in Barron County. 

The H5 avian influenza virus while it is lethal to domestic poultry, the strain of virus detected is not known to have caused disease in humans and is not expected to pose a risk to public health or the food supply. The avian influenza virus strain currently detected in Wisconsin and the other states presents low risk to public health. Poultry meat and egg products in the marketplace remain safe to eat. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus, which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and is carried by free flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. AI viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, of which there are 16 (H1–H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, of which there are 9 (N1–N9). 

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