Several Backyard Birds in Kalamazoo County Dead from Avian Influenza
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has confirmed the discovery of avian influenza in a non-commercial backyard flock in Kalamazoo County. Several birds in the flock have died, the flock has been depopulated, and others birds are now in quarantine at the property. MDARD says it was a non-commercial flock and have not disclosed the location of it.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. Also, no birds or bird products infected with HPAI will enter the food chain. As a reminder, all poultry and eggs should be handled and cooked properly.
"Now, with HPAI present in Michigan, it is critical for poultry owners to increase biosecurity measures and to keep wild birds out in order to protect their flocks. Increasing those measures will be important to ensure domestic birds are kept healthy and safe," said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. "Simply put, no matter how many birds or which type of birds someone owns—now is the time to protect them. I’m asking all owners to sign-up for our email alerts so we can provide them with critical updates on this developing situation.”
An investigation was conducted after many birds from the affected flock died and others showed signs of illness. Samples were sent to the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MSU VDL) for testing. The results showing the highly contagious avian influenza were then confirmed.
“MDARD is always preparing for situations like this when they arise, which is why we were able to take quick action to contain this disease and help protect against its spread,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “At this time, this is an isolated case. There is no threat to public health or food safety. We do not anticipate any disruptions to supply chains across our state. As this situation develops, we will continue to work with our partners at local and federal levels to best mitigate spread and provide outreach."
Avian influenza is a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds. It happens through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.
Whether you have a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, following these biosecurity measures can help protect Michigan’s domestic birds:
- 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 water 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.
- 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 during business hours at 800-292-3939 or afterhours at 517-373-0440