Michigan agriculture and wildlife experts said Friday that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected in at least nine Michigan counties in the past two months, most recently in a flock of poultry from Oakland County non-commercial backyard.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory said that while cooler temperatures and humid conditions continue, disease risk remains high. and bird owners should take steps to protect their flocks.
HPAI is considered a highly contagious virus that can be spread in a variety of ways from flock to flock, including through wild birds, contact with infected poultry, equipment and on the clothing and footwear of guards.
To protect other flocks in Michigan, premises in Oakland County are currently under quarantine and birds will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease, officials said. The affected flock contained approximately 40 birds of different species.
“At present, HPAI continues to spread primarily through the migration of wild birds,” State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said in a statement. “It is important that bird owners stop this route of transmission by keeping their flocks away from bodies of water that wild birds might visit, bringing their flocks indoors and following other protocols to prevent the transmission. introduction of the virus into their birds.
“Every preventive measure taken has an impact,” Wineland said. “At MDARD, we will continue to quickly contain this disease and protect against its spread.”
In Michigan, bird flu has been detected in Branch, Kalamazoo, Livingston, Macomb, Menominee, Oakland, Saginaw, Washtenaw and Wexford counties. Due to bird migrations and flight patterns, it is thought to be likely in other Michigan counties. At least 30 states have reported cases of bird flu.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said there is a “very low” risk to humans from bird flu, said Eric Hilliard, wildlife spokesman for the United States Department of Natural Resources. Michigan.
“There’s no concern for humans or the backyard bird feeders that people like to put up,” Hilliard said Friday. “But the focus is on protecting domestic poultry, keeping them in their cages as much as possible to prevent them congregating with wild birds.”
Hilliard and others pointed out that steps are being taken to ensure that no HPAI-infected birds or bird products enter the commercial food chain. People are encouraged to exercise caution when choosing foods for themselves and their families, and to handle and cook all poultry and eggs properly.
Agriculture and wildlife experts suggest preventative measures to protect Michigan’s domestic birds, including:
- Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed.
- Wash your hands before and after handling birds and when moving between different barns.
- Disinfect boots and other equipment when moving between barns.
- Do not share equipment or other supplies between co-ops or other farms.
- Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies between uses. If it cannot be disinfected, throw it away.
- Use of well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
- Store poultry feed in a safe place to ensure that there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.
The state Department of Agriculture continues to work with local, state, and federal partners to respond quickly to reports of sick or dead domestic birds to best reduce the spread of HPAI and ensure awareness. .
People are encouraged to report any unusual bird deaths or activity to local wildlife officers or the main office at (517) 336-5030, Hilliard said.
“People are advised not to touch the birds without gloves, or better yet, to use a shovel to place them in a bag and then contact one of our offices,” he said.
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/birdflu