IONIA, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan reported its first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Ionia County at a commercial poultry facility on Tuesday.

“As the weather remains cool and wild birds continue their migration, conditions are ideal for the virus to thrive and spread. While these conditions persist, the need to take preventative measures will be high,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland in a statement. “Keeping HPAI out of Michigan’s domestic animals remains a team effort, and it must be a top priority for all.”

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The disease was first detected in Michigan in 2022, however this is the fourth detection of HPAI in a commercial facility according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

Because the disease is a highly contagious virus that can spread from flock to flock through contact with infected poultry, “by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers” according to MDARD, the facility is under quarantine and the birds will be “depopulated to prevent disease spread.”

“Michigan’s egg farmers are among the most proactive in the country, with their diligence leading to rapid detection of HPAI in this flock,” said Dr. Nancy Barr, executive director of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries. “Strict biosecurity measures are in place to protect flocks from the increased threat of HPAI.”

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions the public about health risk.

While the public health risk associated with the avian influenza remains low, the CDC suggests several steps to protecting 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.
– Disinfect boots and other gear when moving between coops.
– Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
– Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies between If it cannot be disinfected, discard it.
– Use 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 shares reporting protocols for possible cases.

For domestic birds that display certain symptoms, MDARD suggests watching for the following:

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“Domestic bird owners and caretakers should watch for multiple sudden deaths in the flock, a drop in egg production, a significant decrease in water consumption, diarrhea, sneezing/coughing, or an increase in sick birds,” MDARD said in a statement.

Call MDARD at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after- hours) with questions or concerns.

For reporting suspected wild birds, Michiganders could use the Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) Eyes in the Field app under the “Diseased Wildlife” option. Alternatively, they could call the DNR Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030.

Texas Reports Bird Flu among its largest producer of fresh eggs.

In Texas, Ridgeland, Mississippi-based Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. said in a statement that approximately 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets, about 3.6% of its total flock, were destroyed after the infection, avian influenza, was found at the facility in Parmer County, Texas.

“The Company continues to work closely with federal, state and local government officials and focused industry groups to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks and effectively manage the response,” according to the statement.

The company also added that it is working to secure production from other facilities “to minimize disruption to its customers.”