Bird flu confirmed in Rock County backyard flock

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin officials announced the second confirmed case of a highly pathogenic avian influenza which was discovered in a backyard flock in Rock County.

Wisconsin officials announced the second confirmed case of a highly pathogenic avian influenza which was discovered in a backyard flock in Rock County.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) officials say samples were tested by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

DATCP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working closely with animal health officials on a joint incident response. The flock of 22 birds on the property have been depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease.

Close to 3 million laying hens from a Jefferson County commercial egg laying flock were depopulated and slated to be composted on a land parcel near the facility.

Wisconsin State Veterinarian Darlene Konkle said the Jefferson County incident was the state's first confirmed case of HPAI since 2015. The outbreak of the disease seven years ago struck nine commercial farms and one backyard flock in Wisconsin, leading to the mass euthanasia, or depopulation, of nearly 2 million birds between April and May 2015.

Last week, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced that HPAI had been found in wild birds in five counties: Dane, Columbia, Grant, Milwaukee, and Polk.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPAI does not present an immediate public health concern. HPAI also does not pose a food safety risk; properly handling and cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills the virus.

DATCP encourages poultry owners to register their premises and practice enhanced biosecurity. Producers are encouraged to move their birds indoors when possible to prevent contact with wild birds and their droppings. To report increased mortality or signs of illness among domestic birds, contact DATCP at (608) 224-4872 (business hours) or (800) 943-0003 (after hours and weekends).