HomeTop StoriesBird flu detected in three Michigan dairy herds

Bird flu detected in three Michigan dairy herds

(CBS DETROIT) – According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the highly pathogenic bird flu virus has been found in three Michigan dairy farms in three counties.

Officials say the virus was detected in Ionia, Isabella and Ottawa counties. This comes two weeks after HPAI detected in a herd in Montcalm County that received cows from Texas, bringing the total number of affected dairy herds to four. So was the virus detected in a commercial poultry farm in the province of Ionia.

“What’s happening with HPAI in Michigan mirrors what’s happening in states across the country. This virus does not stop at county or state lines, which is why we all need to be on high alert. This news is unfortunate and troubling for our poultry and dairy farming families and communities,” MDARD Director Tim Boring said in a statement. “Experts from across the country continue to assess this situation and provide insight into the role of HPAI in affected livestock as they become aware. MDARD continues to work with our federal, state and local partners to respond robustly to this disease.”

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The virus, first discovered in 2022, is highly contagious in birds and poultry and can spread to wild birds and other animals and through exposed objects such as feed, equipment or keepers’ clothing and shoes.

MDARD officials say the commercial milk supply remains safe due to pasteurization and federal animal health regulations. Producers with concerns should contact their veterinarian.

Dairies are urged to limit entry to employees and essential workers, and to wash their hands often.

“HPAI does not affect dairy cows in the same way as it affects poultry. With proper veterinary care, cows recover. Biosecurity is the best line of defense. However, we would like to emphasize that working with your veterinarian is fundamental to the recovery of affected dairy cows,” said state veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland in a statement. “It remains critical for producers to work with their veterinarians, minimize the number of visitors to their farms, prevent contact between their animals and wildlife and be vigilant about animal health to continue monitoring.”

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Anyone suspecting exposure to the virus can contact MDARD at 800-292-3939 during the day and 517-373-0440 after hours.

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