Avian Influenza Detected in Saginaw County Backyard Flock

A case of avian influenza has been found in Saginaw County, making it the sixth case of the highly contagious virus found in Michigan this year.

Previous cases of HPAI were detected in Kalamazoo, Livingston, Macomb, Menominee and Washtenaw counties.

The latest case was found in a non-commercial backyard poultry flock from Saginaw County. The flock contained approximately 35 birds of various species.

“As HPAI continues to be detected in new counties, bird owners must recognize the time for taking preventative measures is now. The best tool we have against this deadly virus is for backyard and commercial flock owners to take every strategy possible to protect their flocks,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “At MDARD, we continue to respond and act swiftly to reduce the spread of HPAI Michigan. Even with increased detections, we do not anticipate any disruptions to supply chains; and currently, there are no threats to public health or food safety.”

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that 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. To protect other flocks in Michigan, the premises is currently under quarantine, and the birds will be depopulated to prevent further disease spread.

According to MDARD, the following biosecurity measures is fundamental 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.

MDARD is continuing to work diligently with local, state, and federal partners to quickly respond to reports of sick or dead domestic birds to best mitigate the spread of HPAI and provide outreach.

Reporting Possible Cases

For Domestic Birds

Domestic bird 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 in domestic birds, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).

For Wild Birds

If anyone notices what appears to be unusual or unexplained deaths among wild bird populations, please report these cases to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by:

  • Using the DNR’s Eyes in the Field app. Choose the “Diseased Wildlife” option among the selections for “Observation Forms.”
  • Calling the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030.