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MDARD stops bird exhibitions amid avian flu worries

Bird Flu Free Range
Posted at 2:50 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 14:50:15-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced Tuesday it will stop 2022 poultry and waterfowl exhibitions in Michigan to protect domestic flocks.

MDARD’s state veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland and MDARD’s director, Gary McDowell made the decision to stop these exhibitions until the state goes 30 days without a new detection of high pathogenic avian influenza in domestic poultry.

Their goal is to protect against the spread of HPAI immediately to help keep Michigan’s domestic poultry flocks safe.

The stop includes shows, exhibitions, swap meets, petting zoos at fairs and game bird and waterfowl fair displays.

It does not include or affect egg hatching exhibits, pigeon races or zoos.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can spread from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment and through caretakers’ shoes and clothing.

Michigan has responded to 12 HPAI cases so far this year.

Those cases were found in non-commercial backyard flocks from nine different counties throughout the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

MDARD says there are several ways to protect the health of Michigan’s domestic birds:

  • Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or keeping them enclosed in an outdoor area
  • Wash your hands before and after handling birds and when moving between 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
  • Give the birds well or municipal water to drink
  • Keep poultry feed secure to avoid contact between the feed and wild birds or rodents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the public health risk associated with these avian flu detections remains low, while no birds or bird products infected with HPAI will enter the commercial food chain.

To report possible cases for domestic birds, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after hours).

To report possible cases for wild birds, call the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030.

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