Bird Flu Detected in Birds in Presque Isle, Wexford Counties

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and District Health Department #4 are confirming cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Presque Isle and Wexford County birds.

Following an investigation by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed the presence of avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard poultry flock in Wexford County. The flock contained about 60 birds of different species.

“Even though temperatures have cooled, wild birds are continuing to migrate and spread the virus. The best strategy we have against HPAI is prevention,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “Backyard and commercial flock owners need to do everything they can to keep wild birds and their germs away from domestic flocks. MDARD is continuing to promptly respond to all suspected cases of HPAI to minimize the impact of the disease.”

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

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.

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 immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).