Allegan County sees confirmed case of avian flu in wild eagle

Bald Eagle
Posted at 10:40 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 22:40:23-04

ALLEGAN, Mich. — The Allegan County Health Department announced Wednesday that it confirmed the first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on May 17 in an eagle.

No human illness has been associated with this detection.

Additionally, the department says it collected three dead geese and sent them for testing, but the results could take a week or more to come back.

HPAI can infect both wild and domestic birds, including chickens.

The state of Michigan reports HPAI detections in backyard domestic flocks in ten counties and in wild birds in 37 counties.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) advises the following to protect both animal and human health:

  • Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them inside or making sure their outdoor area is enclosed fully
  • Wash your hands before and after handing birds, as well as moving between different coops
  • Disinfect boots and other gear when moving between coops
  • Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or farms
  • Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies between uses
  • Use well or municipal water as drinking water for birds
  • Keep poultry feed secure to ensure zero contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources also issued a temporary recommendation for the removal of bird feeders to help slow or stop the spread of HPAI in both wild and domestic birds.

If you decide to continue using bird feeders, consider the following:

  • Thoroughly clean bird feeders with a diluted bleach solution (and rinse well) once a week
  • Clean up birdseed that falls below the feeder
  • Do not feed wild birds, especially waterfowl, near domestic flocks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health risk associated with this avian flu detection remains low.

While HPAI spreads easily among birds, the CDC says it’s rare to spread from birds to people.

To report possible HPAI cases in domestic birds, contact MDARD immediately at (800) 292-3939 (daytime) or (517) 373-0440 (afterhours).

To report possible HPAI cases in wild birds, call the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at (517) 336-5030 or use the DNR’s Eyes in the Field app and choose the “Diseased Wildlife” option under “Observation Forms.”

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