Highly pathogenic bird flu detected in Cass County flock

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 9:49 PM EST
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CASS COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - The presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a Cass County backyard flock.

An investigation by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has revealed the first case of HPAI in Cass County since the disease was first detected in 2022. The state says the flock contained around 60 birds of various species.

HPAI can cause multiple sudden deaths in a flock, a drop in egg production, a significant decrease in water consumption, diarrhea, sneezing/coughing, or an increase in sick birds.

To prevent the spread of the disease, the premises was placed under quarantine, and the birds will be euthanized.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including:

  • Wild birds
  • Contact with infected poultry
  • Equipment
  • Clothing and shoes of caretakers

Whether it’s a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, the state says following a few key steps is fundamental to protecting 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
  • Disinfect boots and other gear when moving between coops
  • Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms
  • Clean and disinfect equipment and other supplies between uses - if it cannot be disinfected, discard it
  • Use 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

MDARD says it is working closely with local government partners to respond to reports of sick or dead domestic birds quickly.

If you or anyone you know notices what appears HPAI in domestic birds, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).

For wild birds, you can file a report via DNR’s Eyes in the Field app or by calling 517-336-5030.