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Highly-pathogenic bird flu now detected in Livingston County

Posted at 7:36 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 19:36:28-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has detected a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard poultry flock from Livingston County.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can be spread from flock to flock through wild birds, being in close contact with infected poultry, touching equipment, and more.

To protect other flocks in Michigan, the lab says the Livingston Country flock is being placed under quarantine, and the birds have been depopulated to prevent any further spread.

This flock contained around 20 birds of multiple species.

"As we continue to respond to HPAI in Michigan, we are strongly encouraging all flock owners to take steps to better protect their poultry and help reduce the spread of this disease. Now is the time for action," state veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said. “Taking every step possible to keep wild birds and the germs they could be carrying away from domestic birds will help to limit the spread and impact of this virus, keeping Michigan’s flocks healthy.”

Ways 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.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development say 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 at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern.