As of June 11, 2022, the statewide stop on poultry and waterfowl exhibitions put in place by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell has been lifted. The stop was implemented as a precautionary measure to further protect against the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), helping to keep Michigan’s domestic poultry flocks safe and healthy.
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.
On May 10, 2022, poultry and waterfowl exhibitions in Michigan were stopped until the state went 30 days without a new detection of HPAI in domestic poultry. While MDARD did announce a detection of HPAI in a commercial flock the next day, there have been no further cases of the disease in Michigan’s domestic birds.
“Even though the state has been able to reach this incredibly important benchmark, this does not mean the virus has left Michigan,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “HPAI continues to be detected in wild birds throughout the state, which is not unexpected as the virus is known to be carried by wild birds. Since the virus is still present in the environment, it is still crucial for owners and caretakers of domestic birds to take every step possible to protect their flocks.”
While the stop has been lifted, MDARD continues to vigilantly monitor national HPAI trends and quickly respond to reports of sick or dead domestic birds in Michigan. If there are any subsequent detections of the virus in the state’s domestic flocks, the situation will be thoroughly assessed and evaluated by MDARD to determine if another stop is warranted to mitigate the spread of HPAI.
Although being able to lift the stop is an encouraging step forward, continuing preventative measures to keep wild birds and their germs away from domestic flocks is needed to maintain this positive momentum.
Whether it’s a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, following a few key steps 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.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health risk associated with these avian influenza detections remains low. No birds or bird products infected with HPAI will enter the commercial food chain. As a reminder, people are encouraged to properly handle and cook all poultry and eggs.
Reporting Possible Cases
For Domestic Birds
Domestic bird owners and caretakers should watch for unusual deaths of more than one bird, a noticeable 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.
Stay Up to Date
Subscribe to receive email notifications by visiting MDARD’s website and clicking on the “Avian Influenza” link. After entering a valid email address, subscribers will receive updates and alerts regarding the status of avian influenza in Michigan whenever there are new developments to report. Additional resources can also be found at Michigan.gov/BirdFlu.
More information on avian influenza and how to protect flocks through biosecurity measures can be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.