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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Macomb County Backyard Flock; MDARD Continues to Ask Poultry Owners to Step Up Biosecurity
March 25, 2022
Currently, there are no public health or food safety concerns to Michiganders
LANSING, MI – Following an investigation by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard flock from Macomb County. This second detection in domestic birds underscores the ongoing high risk for HPAI in Michigan, and poultry owners need to take every precaution to protect their flocks through biosecurity.
"This latest case of HPAI is not unexpected as wild birds are continuing to migrate and spread the disease. Now more than ever, it is vital for poultry owners to take every step possible to keep wild birds away from their flocks and follow other biosecurity measures," said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. "Increasing biosecurity helps protect not only your flock but others around the state. Keeping HPAI away from Michigan’s domestic birds is a team effort.”
After several birds from the affected flock died and others showed signs of illness, samples were sent to the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MSU VDL) for testing. The results from MSU VDL were then confirmed by NVSL.
To protect other flocks in Michigan, the premises is currently under quarantine, and the birds have been depopulated to prevent further disease spread.
Similar to the previous detection in Kalamazoo County, this is another isolated case of the virus, and there are no anticipated disruptions to supply chains and no threat to public health or food safety.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. Also, no birds or bird products infected with HPAI will enter the food chain. As a reminder, all poultry and eggs should be handled and cooked properly.
HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.
Whether you have a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, following these biosecurity measures is fundamental to protecting the health of Michigan’s domestic birds:
- Preventing contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed.
- Washing your hands before and after handling birds as well as when moving between different coops.
- Disinfecting boots and other gear when moving between coops.
- Not sharing equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
- Cleaning and disinfecting equipment and other supplies between uses. If it cannot be disinfected, discard it.
- Using well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
Keeping poultry feed secure so there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.
Poultry owners and caretakers should watch for unusual deaths, a drop in egg production, a significant decrease in water consumption, or an increase in sick birds. If avian influenza is suspected, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).
MDARD is continuing to work diligently with local, state, and federal partners to quickly respond to reports of sick or dead domestic birds to best mitigate the spread of HPAI and provide outreach.
Stay Up to Date
Subscribe to receive email notifications by visiting MDARD’s website and clicking on the “Avian Influenza” link. After entering a valid email address, subscribers will receive updates and alerts regarding the status of avian influenza in Michigan whenever there are new developments to report. Additional resources can also be found at Michigan.gov/BirdFlu.
More information on avian influenza and how to protect flocks through biosecurity measures can be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website