Skip to main content

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Updates in Michigan Sign up to receive updates and alerts about avian influenza in Michigan.

What is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza?

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), commonly called “bird flu,” is a virus found among various species of birds. HPAI viruses can infect domestic poultry, which includes chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl. 

The virus also infects a wide variety of other birds, including wild migratory waterfowl. HPAI has even been detected in various species of mammals—presumably after the animals come into contact with infected wild birds. For more information on current detections in domestic poultry, livestock, and wildlife across the U.S., please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s webpage.

HPAI's Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza?

    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, including Michigan dairy cattle.

    What is being done at the state level to prevent and stop the spread of HPAI?

    The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development continues to work with state and federal partners, veterinarians, Michigan State University Extension, MSU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and industry stakeholders to provide information to poultry farmers and backyard flock owners about the current disease situation, importance of following (and even increasing) their biosecurity measures, and what signs to look for in their birds.
    MDARD continues to take swift action in response to this disease and is closely monitoring and responding to reports of sick domestic birds and HPAI throughout the state.

  • How does HPAI impact infected birds?

    HPAI viruses cause severe illness in chickens and turkeys and can wipe out entire flocks in days. Potential symptoms include: sudden death, drop in egg production, nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, and diarrhea. Additional symptoms and information may be found on USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's webpage.

    Can I get avian influenza from consuming poultry, or eggs?

    No. Poultry and eggs that are properly prepared and cooked are safe to eat. Proper food safety practices are important every day. In addition to proper processing, proper handling and cooking of poultry provides protection from viruses and bacteria, including avian influenza. The chance of infected poultry or eggs entering the food chain is extremely low because of the rapid onset of symptoms in poultry as well as the safeguards USDA has in place, which include testing of flocks, and Federal inspection programs.

    How do I protect my own 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.
    • Disinfect boots and other gear when moving between coops.
    • Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
    • Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies between If it cannot be disinfected, discard it.
    • Use 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.
  • How does HPAI impact infected cattle?

    Unlike HPAI in birds which is typically fatal, little to no mortality has been reported among dairy cattle with most animals recovering. The virus may cause a decreased milk supply along with other mild symptoms.

    Is it safe to drink milk?

    Yes. Milk Products are pasteurized before entering the market. There is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply, or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health. Pasteurization has continuously proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. Raw milk is not recommended to be consumed, as those who consume raw milk and/or milk products are at risk for a variety of illnesses.

Current Status in Michigan's Domestic Animals

As detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza continue to be discovered throughout the state, it remains vital for every producer to take steps to protect their animals.

Cases of the disease continue to be found in Michigan’s wild birds and mammals. The virus was also recently detected in Michigan dairy cattle. It is just as important now as it was at the start of the HPAI outbreak in February 2022 for producers to take every step possible to protect domestic animals from wildlife and the germs they could be carrying.

Since the outbreak began in February 2022, HPAI has been detected in domestic birds from Bay, Branch, Cass, Eaton, Genessee, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Menominee, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oakland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Tuscola, Washtenaw, and Wexford Counties.

In April 2024, the disease has also been detected in dairy cattle from Ionia, Isabella, Montcalm and Ottawa Counties.

MDARD is continuing to work diligently with local, state, and federal partners to quickly respond to reports of sick animals and provide the latest information to producers, industry, and other key stakeholders. Stay up to date with the latest information by signing up to receive notifications on HPAI in Michigan.

Michigan HPAI News Releases

HPAI Poultry News

HPAI Cattle News

Current National Status

The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in poultry operations, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations. Visit the USDA’s avian health web page for more information

For more information on current detections in domestic poultry and wildlife across the U.S., please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s poultry webpage.

For information on HPAI detections in livestock and ways to keep animals healthy, please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s webpage

Reporting Suspected HPAI Infections

Please Note: HPAI is NOT evidenced by one dead bird or one coughing/sneezing bird while the remainder of the flock is acting normally. Instead, for small flock owners, look for two or more dead birds within a 24-hour period and symptoms in the rest of the flock (not eating, acting lethargic or sleepy with eyes closed, tucking their head close to their body, and appearing to be puffed up). Download our shareable avian influenza in poultry infographic. 

Domestic Animals

800-292-3939 (daytime)
517-373-0440 or 412-847-2255 (after-hours)

Wildlife

517-336-5030
Eyes in the Field: a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Online Form

Public Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the public health risk associated with HPAI remains low.

Human Safety

CDC News Release: Update: Human Infection with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus in Texas (4/5/2024)

CDC News Release: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus: Identification of Human Infection and Recommendations for Investigations and Response (4/5/2024)

CDC: Bird Flu Virus Infections in Humans

CDC: The Risk of HPAI Infection in People is Low

CDC: Avian Influenza Information

APHIS: Public Health Monitoring Plan for USDA/APHIS Responders to Detections of Avian Influenza Virus in Poultry - English (PDF)

APHIS: Public Health Monitoring Plan for USDA/APHIS Responders to Detections of Avian Influenza Virus in Poultry - Spanish (PDF)

APHIS: PPE Recommendations during an HPAI Response (PDF)

Michigan Local Health Department Map

Food Safety

The management and elimination of HPAI disease includes practices that ensure no poultry products (meat or eggs) from HPAI positive flocks enter the food chain. As a reminder, it is essential that people follow proper food safety practices when handling and cooking all poultry and eggs products.

As a reminder, it is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry in the United States. The proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses, including HPAI viruses.

With regard to the latest detection of HPAI in dairy cattle across the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the commercial milk supply remains safe due to both federal animal health requirements and pasteurization.

Farmer Health, Stress, and Mental Health Resources

MDARD/FRSAN Legacy of the Land grants / MSU Extension Farm Stress Program Resources

MSU Extension Teletherapy Program
MSU Extension partners with a therapy provider to provide telehealth services to farmers, farm families and workers.  

Michigan Farm Bureau Stress and Mental Health Resources

Biosecurity

Dairy cows feeding in a meadow

Cattle

Cattle Reminders: If cattle producers are noticing decreased lactation, low appetite, abnormal milk, abnormally tacky or loose feces, and/or low fever within their herds, please contact your veterinarian to determine the next appropriate steps to take before reporting.

  • Talk to your veterinarian about any animal health-related concern.
  • Isolate sick animals from others.
  • Minimize the number of visitors to your farm.
  • Prevent contact between your animals and wildlife.
Poultry in a hen house

Poultry

Poultry Reminders: HPAI is NOT evidenced by one dead bird or one coughing/sneezing bird while the remainder of the flock is acting normally. Instead, for small flock owners, look for two or more dead birds within a 24-hour period and symptoms in the rest of the flock (not eating, acting lethargic or sleepy with eyes closed, tucking their head close to their body, and appearing to be puffed up).

Whether you have a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, following these biosecurity measures can help protect 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.
  • Disinfect boots and other gear when moving between coops.
  • Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
  • Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies between uses. If it cannot be disinfected, discard it.
  • Use well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
  • Keep poultry feed secure so there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.