A week ago today Wisconsin was added to the growing list of states reporting HPAI H5 – in either wild birds or poultry – when a chicken farm was hit in Jefferson County. A few days later a turkey farm in Barron county was reported to be infected, as was a backyard flock in Juneau county.
Although we haven’t seen an update from APHIS yet this week, the specter of additional bird flu outbreaks among commercial chicken and turkey farms looms large across much of the Midwest. And so today Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker issued an executive order to aid in combating the HPAI H5 virus.
First the press release from the Governor’s office, then a link and excerpts from the Executive Order.
Madison – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker today signed Executive Order #156, authorizing the Wisconsin National Guard to assist authorities in the response to the avian influenza virus affecting Jefferson, Juneau, and Barron Counties.
“We must act quickly and efficiently to contain the outbreak and protect domestic poultry,” Governor Walker said. “It is important to note, however, there is no threat to humans with the avian flu outbreak.”
According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), avian influenza virus has been detected in three Wisconsin poultry flocks, affecting tens of thousands of chickens and turkeys. Read more here.
Governor Walker’s Executive Order allows the Wisconsin National Guard to assist in the response and help contain the outbreak, as well as offer assistance in site clean-up. The state veterinarian, through DATCP, requested up to 14 Guard personnel be made available, on a rotating schedule, for immediate assistance. This assistance from the Wisconsin National Guard is necessary because federal resources are thin, due to avian influenza virus outbreaks in other states, particularly in the Midwest.
If you find a sick or dead bird, do not touch it. For domestic birds, call DATCP’s Division of Animal Health at 1-800-572-8981, and for wild birds, call the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-433-1810
A copy of Executive Order #156 is attached.
The executive order has five provisions;
1. Proclaim that a State of Emergency exists throughout the State of Wisconsin, and is currently focused in Jefferson, Barron and Juneau counties; and
2. Designate the WEM Administrator as the State Coordinating Officer to oordinate all state agencies of the State of Wisconsin to assist in the response and recovery efforts to this situation; and
3. Call to state active duty such elements of the Wisconsin National Guard as the Adjutant General deems necessary to assist civil authorities for purposes of assisting in response and recovery efforts as well as providing security and other essential services; and
4. Authorize the Adjutant General to utilize personnel called to state active duty pursuant to this order in emergency status; and
5. Authorize the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to issue area-wide quarantine orders for feed, poultry and poultry products.
While the risks to human health are considered low, a failure to get control of HPAI in America’s poultry producing states could result in enormous economic losses to the industry, and send ripples through many sectors of the the economy.