The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources received confirmation in early May that three wild red fox kits tested positive for a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that is currently affecting domestic and wild bird populations in North America. These cases represent the first detections of HPAI in wild Wisconsin mammals. Similar cases have been confirmed in foxes from Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario, Canada and Europe.
“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.”