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Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Consumer Protection: Confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Washington County

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has identified a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a Washington County backyard flock. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in a domestic flock in Wisconsin since May.

This year, 23 herds in 15 counties have been confirmed by the IAHP. All infected herds are depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. This week, Indiana and Minnesota also announced new cases of HPAI in domestic flocks, and there have been recent detections among wild birds in Wisconsin. Fall and winter could be a critical time for virus transmission, so the DATCP urges all poultry owners to implement strong biosecurity measures to protect their birds from disease.

HPAI viruses are highly contagious and often fatal to domestic poultry. The disease can be spread through contact with infected birds, equipment or clothing worn by anyone working with animals. Signs of HPAI include:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Lack of energy or appetite
  • Decreased egg production; soft and deformed eggs
  • Purple discoloration of wattles, comb and legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose, coughing, sneezing
  • Trip or fall
  • Diarrhea

DATCP reminds poultry owners in Wisconsin to register premises. State law requires all livestock owners to register where their animals are kept. Registration helps animal health officials communicate with herd owners during outbreaks.

To report increased mortality or signs of illness in domestic birds, contact the DATCP at (608) 224-4872 (business hours) or (800) 943-0003 (after hours and weekends) . For updates on how the virus is affecting domestic birds in Wisconsin, visit DATCP HPAI webpage.​