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Bird flu detected in Wisconsin commercial flock

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Wis. — Avian influenza has been detected in a commercial flock in Wisconsin, making it at least the twelfth U.S. state to confirm an outbreak of the highly pathogenic strain since the start of 2022.

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The virus, also known as the bird flu, does not pose an immediate threat to the public, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a news release issued Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirmed that the highly transmissible strain, detected in a Jefferson County commercial flock, is the state’s first bird flu case since 2015. Jefferson County, in the southern portion of the state, is about 50 miles west of Milwaukee.

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According to the department – which is working in tandem with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and animal health officials – birds on the property will be euthanized to prevent the strain’s spread, no poultry products will be moved from the affected area and no birds from the affected flock will be allowed to enter the food system, WKOW reported.

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Although human cases of the avian virus are rare, the CDC confirmed that the overlap does occur on rare occasions when enough of the virus gets into an individual’s eyes, nose or mouth. Humans cannot, however, contract the disease from poultry or eggs that are properly handled and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the USDA said.

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According to the CDC, birds contract the flu when they come into contact with the “saliva, nasal secretions or feces” of an infected bird. The flu is considered to be “very contagious among birds” and has the potential to kill certain domesticated species like chickens and turkeys, CBS News reported.

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Although human cases of avian virus are rare, the CDC confirmed that the overlap does occur on rare occasions when enough of the virus gets into an individual’s eyes, nose or mouth. Humans cannot, however, contract the disease from poultry or eggs that are properly handled and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the USDA said.

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Since the start of 2022, the inspection service has confirmed avian flu flock outbreaks in the Carolinas, Delaware, Michigan, New York, Maine, Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois and Wisconsin.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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