MADISON (WKOW) — Wisconsin has learned of the first cases of avian flu in wild mammals.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says three fox kits have tested positive for a strain of highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI). The same virus is impacting wild and domestic birds nationwide, including in 11 Wisconsin counties. Cases of the virus in foxes have also been confirmed in Minnesota, Michigan and Ontario, Canada.
"We don’t have any evidence that foxes are a significant source of transmission for the virus," said Lindsey Long, DNR Wildlife Health Veterinarian. "The three foxes in these cases most likely contracted the H5N1 strain of HPAI after eating infected wild birds."
Each fox kit is from a different county, and all showed advanced neurological symptoms when brought to the Dane County Humane Society Wildlife Center.
The DNR is reminding the public not to approach animals that appear sick, injured or acting abnormally. While no cases of H5N1 avian influenza strain have been identified in domestic dogs or cats, the DNR suggests calling your vet if your pet has had contact with a mammal showing neurological symptoms.
Visit the DNR''s wildlife diseases page to learn how to report possible HPAI cases.