WLIC aids DATCP in lessening the effects of “bird flu” to producers

At the NIAA Annual Conference in Kansas City, Wisconsin State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw presented and led a discussion about the recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the Midwest. Dr. McGraw spoke about the importance of the poultry industry to Wisconsin’s economy and the devastating effects of the disease. Nationally it is estimated to have cost the economy $3.3 billion. Wisconsin was able to mitigate its losses by its rapid response to the outbreak enabled, to a great extent, by the premises registrations collected by the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC). “Our responders saved time by not having to knock on doors to determine who had poultry,” McGraw said. WLIC helped begin the process by generating a list of premises with poultry in the areas surrounding infected flocks. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) GIS team was then able to map the 50 to 100 premises surrounding each infected premises. These producers were contacted about the problem and veterinarians were dispatched to test the birds. If the disease is detected, it is crucial to depopulate as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of the disease. Through its swift actions, Wisconsin was able to avert the potentially devastating effects of “bird flu” for many of its producers.