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Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
Status of Highly Pathogenic 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. For more information on current detections in domestic poultry across the U.S., please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s webpage.
HPAI infects a wide variety of other birds, including wild migratory waterfowl. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI infections in wild and domestic birds to be low.
Current Status in Michigan
In early September, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) detected a new case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in domestic backyard poultry.
Cases of the disease continue to be found in Michigan’s wild birds and mammals, so it is important now to take every step possible to protect domestic birds from this virus.
HPAI has been detected in Branch County, Eaton County, Genessee County, Ingham County, Lapeer County, Kalamazoo County, Livingston County, Macomb County, Menominee County, Muskegon County, Oakland County, Saginaw County, Sanilac County, Tuscola County, Washtenaw County, and Wexford County.
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).
The following hotlines are available for reporting suspected HPAI infections:
517-373-0440 or 412-847-2255 (after-hours)
Eyes in the Field (Michigan Department of Natural Resources Online Form)
Whether you have a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, following these biosecurity measures can help protect 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.
More Biosecurity Resources
Small/Backyard Flock Owners:
National Biosecurity Resources from USDA:
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.
For Fairs and Exhibitions
For Animal Control Officers
How to Recognize a Sick Bird - Poster (PDF) - Updated May 2022
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Basics - FAQ (PDF) - Updated May 2022
Farmer Stress and Mental Health Resources
MSU Extension Teletherapy Program
MSU Extension partners with a therapy provider to provide telehealth services to farmers, farm families and workers.