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Allegan County confirms first case of highly contagious bird flu

Allegan County LHD and the Michigan DNR says the case was confirmed on May 17, 2022.

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. — The first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) commonly referred to as “bird flu," has been confirmed in an eagle in Allegan County.

Allegan County LHD and the Michigan DNR says the case was confirmed on May 17, 2022. Three dead geese were also found and sent in for testing, but official results could take a week or more to come back. 

There has been no human illness in connection with this case yet. People who interact with birds regularly, including poultry or hunting, should take precaution. 

HPAI in birds is not a food safety concern if poultry and eggs are handled and cooked properly. 

In Michigan, HPAI has been detected in both backyard domestic birds and wild birds. The virus has been detected in domestic flocks from 10 counties. In wild birds, it has been detected in 37 counties. 

RELATED: Bird flu confirmed in 3 baby red foxes, Michigan DNR says

According to the CDC, the public health risk remains low. HPAI spreads easily among birds, and in very rare instances can spread from birds to people.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) advises that following simple precautionary steps is fundamental to protecting both animal and human health. They recommended:

  • Preventing contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed.
  • Washing your hands before and after handling birds as well as when moving between different coops.
  • Disinfecting boots and other gear when moving between coops.
  • Not sharing 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.
  • Keeping poultry feed secure to ensure there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.

If you'd like to report a case of bird flu for a domestic bird, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours). 

If anyone notices what appears to be unusual or unexplained deaths among wild bird populations, please report these cases to the 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.

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