State warns of avian influenza

Department of Agriculture officials destroyed more than 73,000 birds at Lincoln County farm, the USDA said in a statement Sunday. Most of the recommendations are simple and have the goal of preventing commercial poultry or backyard chickens from being exposed to migratory wild waterfowl that may carry the virus. There was an outbreak of HPAI in January 2016 in IN, and a series of outbreaks in 2015 in the Midwest.

"We are watching what happens with that virus over in Barron County. but we have done a lot of planning since 2015 and we are confident in our response", Thompson said.

Both types of the virus occur naturally in wild birds, who carry the virus without getting sick. Other signs include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, lack of coordination or paralysis, diarrhea, particularly green in color, ruffled feathers, lethargic and poor appetite, and drop in egg production or softshell or misshapen eggs. The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low.

A highly pathogenic (H7) strain was found in a commercial chicken flock in Tennessee, while a low-pathogenic (H5) strain was found in a commercial turkey flock in Wisconsin. "Low-path" strains, as they're known, produce relatively few symptoms in poultry.

The virus found in Tennessee likely mutated to become highly pathogenic from a less unsafe, low pathogenic form, he said. While measures have been in place in the United Kingdom for a while, parts of the Isle of Wight have now been designated as "high risk areas" for avian flu.

In 2015, a virus existed in wild ducks and geese in its deadliest form, the highly pathogenic variety. "So, biosecurity and healthy poultry flocks are important to us all". With the low pathogenic version, Cardona said, there's more time to react.

The agriculture department said Monday it still investigating the source of the virus, but no additional poultry within the 10-mile surveillance area have shown signs of illness, and all samples from poultry within the surveillance area have tested negative for HPAI. "As we see migration happen in the fall and the springtime, that's when we elevate our level of biosecurity and our testing protocols". However, bird flu can't be contracted or spread by pigeons.

In China, at least 112 people have died from H7N9 bird flu this winter, Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

"Poultry owners and producers need to be especially vigilant", Wolfgang added. "So I know our poultry producers are on extreme alert right now".

  • Lila Blake