OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — State officials say the highly pathogenic avian influenza has now spread to a backyard flock in Oakland County.

According to a press release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the virus was found in a non-commercial backyard poultry flock that contained about 40 birds of various species.

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Officials say the premises are under quarantine and the birds will be depopulated to prevent further spread.

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“At this time, HPAI continues to mainly be spread through the migration of wild birds. It is important for bird owners to stop this route of transmission by keeping their flocks away from bodies of water wild birds could visit, bringing their flocks indoors, and following other protocols to prevent the virus from being introduced to their birds,” State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said in a statement. “Every preventative action that is taken makes an impact. At MDARD, we will continue to swiftly contain this disease and help protect against its spread.” 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the virus affected 11 backyard flocks and 820 birds as of May 5. It was also detected in 38 wild birds.

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Whether it’s a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, following a few key steps is fundamental to protect the health and vitality of 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.
  • Disinfecting boots and other gear when moving between coops.
  • Do not share 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.
  • Keep poultry feed secure to ensure there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.

Reporting Possible Cases

For Domestic Birds

Domestic bird owners and caretakers should watch for unusual deaths, a drop in egg production, a significant decrease in water consumption, or an increase in sick birds. If avian influenza is suspected in domestic birds, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).

For Wild Birds

If anyone notices what appears to be unusual or unexplained deaths among wild bird populations, please report these cases to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (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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