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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Three New Michigan Dairy Herds

LANSING, MI – Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring announced the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in dairy herds in three additional counties—Ionia, Isabella, and Ottawa—bringing the total number of affected counties to four. On March 29, MDARD announced the state’s first HPAI-positive dairy herd located in Montcalm County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed these detections late in the evening on April 11.

"What is happening with HPAI in Michigan, mirrors what is happening in states across the country. This virus does not stop at county or state lines, which is why we must all be on high alert. This news is unfortunate and upsetting for our poultry and dairy farming families and communities," said Boring. "Experts from across the nation continue to assess this situation and provide insights into the role of HPAI in the affected livestock as they become aware. MDARD continues working with our federal, state, and local partners to respond robustly to this disease. Thanks to recent budget investments, MDARD is well poised to properly engage in this response. If you believe your livestock are showing clinical signs, contact your veterinarian immediately. We're all on the same team as we combat HPAI."

According to the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease and Prevention, the commercial milk supply remains safe due to federal animal health requirements and pasteurization. Federal experts continue to stress there is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that this circumstance poses any increased risk to consumer health. Analysis of the virus from this case and the other cases of affected cattle has not shown any significant new adaptation to make the virus more transmissible between mammals. Therefore, the public health risk associated with HPAI remains low.

In Michigan, state law requires pasteurization for any milk sold in stores. Pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk.

“HPAI doesn’t affect dairy cows the same way as it does with poultry. With proper veterinary care, cows are recovering. Biosecurity is the best line of defense. Still, we want to stress working with your veterinarian is fundamental for the recovery of affected dairy cows,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland, DVM, MS, DACVPM. “It continues to be vitally important for producers to work with their veterinarian, minimize the number of visitors to their farms, prevent contact between their animals and wildlife, and continue to monitor the health of animals vigilantly.”

Dairies continue to be strongly encouraged to implement enhanced biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of disease. It is recommended to limit persons coming onto dairies to employees and essential personnel only and to follow best management practices, including washing hands often. Additional biosecurity resources are available through Secure Milk Supply.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus in birds and poultry that can be spread directly by infected wild birds or animals or indirectly through any item that has been exposed to the virus, such as equipment, feed, or the clothing and shoes of caretakers. The virus has been detected in various species of mammals, presumably after the animals come into contact with infected birds. The affected premises voluntarily stopped movement to limit the spread of the disease.

Producers who have concerns about their animals' health and/or questions regarding how to improve the measures they take to protect animal health on their farm should contact their veterinarian.

If anyone suspects the presence of HPAI or any other reportable animal disease in their domestic animals, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).

For more information on the detections of HPAI in cattle, please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.

For more information on HPAI, visit


04/12 Update: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Michigan Dairy Herd (video)

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