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Highly contagious bird flu detected in Milwaukee County goose

Strains confirmed in Wisconsin wild bird populations
Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 13:27:34-04

MILWAUKEE COUNTY — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Thursday that the highly contagious Avian influenza has been detected in wild birds in Wisconsin.

One of the samples collected was a Canadian goose from Milwaukee County. Other samples included a Cooper's hawk and bald eagle submitted from Dane County, a lesser scaup from Columbia County, a red-tailed hawk from Grant County, and a trumpeter swan from Polk County.

According to the DNR, the announcement follows preliminary positive results found by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory on Wednesday and Thursday.

"The strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) currently affecting the health of some domestic and wild North American birds is known as EA H5N1," the DNR said in a statement. "It has caused disease in domestic and wild birds in multiple states since it was first detected in North America in December 2021."

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) first detected HPAI in domestic poultry in Jefferson County on March 14.

Depopulation efforts were completed Wednesday at the Jefferson County egg farm following the outbreak.

According to the county, the farm began depopulating its entire stock of layers on March 16. In the following days, it began to compost some of the birds.

Anyone who observes sick or dead birds should minimize contact with them, the DNR says. You should not touch dead birds or wildlife with your bare hands. For more precautionary information, click here.

The DNR says staff has increased its monitoring efforts, focusing on species most likely to carry or be affected by the virus. Officials are asking the public to email or call with reports of waterfowl, waterbirds, raptors (especially bald eagles) and avian scavengers such as crows, ravens and gulls showing tremors, circling movement or holding their heads in an unusual position. The DNR says these symptoms may be a sign of HPAI.

Reports can be made to the DNR Wildlife Hotline by emailing or by leaving a voicemail message for a return phone call at 608-267-0866.

Upland birds, such as wild turkey, have behaviors and habitats that make them less likely to encounter Avian influenza viruses in the wild, according to the DNR.

For more information on Avian influenza viruses and updates regarding the HPAI strain, click here.

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