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Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been found locally in five Barron County commercial turkey flocks and one Chippewa County commercial turkey flock, to date. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers the risk to people from these infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. Although avian influenza is a highly contagious disease to domestic poultry, there are no apparent risks with this particular strain to human health from domestic poultry or domestic poultry products at this time.
Any risk of infection would be limited to people with direct contact to sick or dead birds. It is very important that people who have backyard flocks protect themselves and their birds. The following six steps are recommended by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to protect people and birds:
• Limit the people who come to your property.
• Keep it clean- wash hands before and after working with birds and disinfect equipment.
• Don’t haul disease home- buy birds from trustworthy sources and keep new birds separated for at least 30 days. There is a ban on poultry movement to shows, exhibitions and swap meets in Barron and Chippewa County.
• Don’t borrow disease- do not share equipment or supplies with other bird owners.
• Know the warning signs- early detection can help prevent the spread of disease. Check birds frequently, if sick or dead birds are found do not touch them.
• Report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to DATCP at 1-800-572-8981- don’t wait if birds are sick or dying, call right away.
• If you are planning to take delivery of chicks in the next few weeks, there are no restrictions in place at this time unless the birds are coming from a controlled zone.
These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing. The public is asked to report sick/dead poultry to DATCP at 1-800-572-8981 or wild birds to the DNR at 1-800-433-1610. Contact the Dunn County Public Health Department with human health questions at (715) 232-2388.
The risk to the public is very low and there is no food safety concern. In all circumstances raw meat and poultry should be properly handled and cooked. As a reminder, poultry and eggs should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F. No birds with avian influenza have entered the food chain. No human cases of infection with this strain of the virus have been detected in the U.S.
If you own poultry but are not registered in accordance with the state’s mandatory premises registration law, now is the time to contact the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) at 888-808-1910. The Wisconsin Livestock Premises Registration Act requires anyone who keeps, houses, or co-mingles livestock to register their premises. Registering your premises gives animal health officials a valuable tool when responding to animal disease outbreaks. Information on the WLIC website (http://www.wiid.org/) explains that by registering your premise, it also allows you to stay informed about disease threats to your animals.
More information about avian influenza can be found on the following web sites:
• Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection – Avian Influenza page (http://datcp.wi.gov/Animals/Animal_Diseases/Avian_Influenza/ ),
• Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov),
• Wisconsin Department of Health Services (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov).