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MDARD Urges All Michiganders to Help Protect Against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza this Fall
September 19, 2022
Precautions are needed as wild birds continue to spread HPAI during their fall migration
LANSING, MI – With a second detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a
domestic flock during the fall migration season for wild birds, the Michigan Department of
Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is urging Michiganders to avoid feeding wild
waterfowl, continue to suspend their use of backyard bird feeders, and take other precautions to
limit the spread of the virus.
Following an investigation by MDARD, the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic
Laboratory detected the presence of HPAI in a non-commercial backyard poultry flock from
Macomb County. This case marks the third detection of HPAI in Macomb County this year. The
premises is currently under quarantine to protect other flocks in Michigan, and the birds were
depopulated to prevent disease spread. The flock contained approximately 40 birds of various
“This newest detection is not unexpected as the virus is known to be carried by wild birds.
However, this case does highlight the need for everyone to take steps to avoid attracting wild
birds to their property—especially if they have a poultry flock,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora
Wineland. “Keeping domestic birds away from natural bodies of water, not feeding them next to
wild birds, and preventing them from interacting with wild birds are all essential practices to
ensure domestic birds can stay healthy and safe.”
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.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health risk associated with this avian influenza detection remains low. Also, no birds or bird products infected with HPAI will enter the commercial food chain. As a reminder, people should properly handle and cook all poultry and eggs.
Whether it’s a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, following a few key steps is fundamental to protect the health and vitality of Michigan’s domestic birds:
• 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 as well as when moving between different coops.
• Disinfecting boots and other gear when moving between coops.
• Do not share 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.
• Keep poultry feed secure to ensure there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.
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.
Reporting Possible Cases
For Domestic Birds
Domestic bird owners and caretakers should watch for multiple sudden deaths in the flock, a drop in egg production, a significant decrease in water consumption, or an increase in sick birds. If avian influenza is suspected in domestic birds, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).
For Wild Birds
If anyone notices what appears to be unusual or unexplained deaths among wild bird populations, please report these cases to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by:
• Using the DNR’s Eyes in the Field app. Choose the “Diseased Wildlife” option among the selections for “Observation Forms.”
• Calling the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030.
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 preventative measures can be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.