MDARD Asking Poultry Owners to Step Up Biosecurity Following Detection of Avian Influenza

After the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard flock in Macomb County, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is asking poultry owners to take every precaution to protect their flocks through biosecurity.

“This latest case of HPAI is not unexpected as wild birds are continuing to migrate and spread the disease. Now more than ever, it is vital for poultry owners to take every step possible to keep wild birds away from their flocks and follow other biosecurity measures,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “Increasing biosecurity helps protect not only your flock but others around the state. Keeping HPAI away from Michigan’s domestic birds is a team effort.”

After Several birds from the flock died and others showed signs of illness, samples were sent to the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MSU VDL) for testing. Results from the test from MSU VDL were then confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL).

MDARD says to protect other Michigan flocks, the premises is currently under quarantine and the birds have been depopulated to prevent further spread of HPAI.

Additionally, MDARD states that this is another isolated case of the virus, and there are no anticipated disruptions to supply chains and no threat to public health or food safety.

The CDC says HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern.

No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the U.S., and no birds or bird products infected with HPAI will enter the food chain.

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

MDARD suggests that flock owners follow biosecurity measures to protect the health of the state’s domestic birds. These include:

  • 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.

Additionally, poultry owners and caretakers should watch for unusual deaths, a drop in egg production, a significant drop in water consumption or an increase in sick birds.

If avian influenza is suspected, call MDARD at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after hours).