(WFRV) – In an attempt to prevent the spread of the avian flu, state officials announced the suspension of Wisconsin poultry shows, exhibitions and swap meets.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced the suspension of all poultry shows, exhibitions and swap meets across the state. This suspension will last through May 31.

The suspensions are an effort to try to stop the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Poultry owners are ‘strongly encouraged’ to keep practicing strict biosecurity.

The DATCP already suspended poultry exhibitions in Jefferson County. Similar restrictions can be found in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and North Carolina.

Signs of HPAI in infected birds include:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Lack of energy or appetite
  • Decrease in egg production; soft, misshapen eggs
  • Purple discoloration of wattles, comb, and legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose, coughing, sneezing
  • Stumbling or falling down
  • Diarrhea

Local farms in northeast Wisconsin are keeping tabs on HPAI. “If the bird is destroyed, there’s going to be no eggs, and you can’t replace them for six months, so it would wipe us out if it would happen on our farm,” said Nancy Kellner, who runs a poultry farm in Denmark.

Officials say that a confirmed case of HPAI was found in a poultry flock in Racine County. This brings the total to three different counties in Wisconsin with cases of domestic birds.

To report signs of illness among domestic birds call 608-224-4872 or 800-943-0003.