Bird Flu Detected in Backyard Poultry Flock From Lapeer County

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected in a backyard poultry flock from Lapeer County, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

According to MDARD, this is the first detection of HPAI in Lapeer County. They say that as temperatures cool across the state, that bird owners should take every measure they can to protect their own flocks from wild birds.

“The cooler fall temperatures will not serve to lessen the threat or impact of HPAI,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “Since the virus is susceptible to heat rather than cold, bird owners need to remain vigilant as wild birds complete their fall migration. Preventing more cases of HPAI begins with preventing domestic birds from intermingling with wild birds. Working to ensure the health of Michigan’s domestic birds is of utmost importance.”

Since HPAI is highly contagious, the premises of which these birds are kept is currently under quarantine and the birds will be killed to prevent disease spread, according to MDARD.

MDARD says following these steps is the best way 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

Domestic bird owners and caretakers should also watch for multiple sudden deaths in the flock, a drop in egg production, a significant decrease in water consumption or an increase in sick birds. This could be a sign of avian influenza, and you should contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours)

If anyone is noticing unusual or unexplained deaths among wild bird populations, you are asked to report these cases to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources by either calling 517-336-5030 or by using the DNR’s Eyes in the Field app and choosing the “Disease Wildlife” option.

For more information about avian influenza and how to protect flocks against it, click here.