Bird influenza cases spreading across Michigan; latest is in Oakland County

Michigan agriculture and wildlife experts said Friday highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected in at least nine Michigan counties in the past two months, most recently in a non-commercial backyard poultry flock from Oakland County.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory said while cooler temperatures and damp conditions continue, the risk for disease remains high and bird owners should take steps to protect their flocks.

HPAI is viewed as a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.

To protect other flocks in Michigan, the Oakland County premises is currently under quarantine, and the birds will be depopulated to prevent disease spread, officials said. The affected flock contained about 40 birds of different species.

“At this time, HPAI continues to mainly be spread through the migration of wild birds,” State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said in release. “It is important for bird owners to stop this route of transmission by keeping their flocks away from bodies of water wild birds could visit, bringing their flocks indoors, and following other protocols to prevent the virus from being introduced to their birds.

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