Posted on April 7, 2015 by Jeannine P. Schweihofer, Darrin Karcher and Mick Fulton, Michigan State University Extension
The H5N2 strain of avian influenza has been confirmed in several cases across the United States. Minnesota, Arkansas, Missouri, and South Dakota are among the states with confirmed cases in commercial flocks with new confirmations coming regularly. This same virus has caused outbreaks in backyard flocks in Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. It appears that the virus is being spread from wild waterfowl along the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi migratory bird flyways. Michigan will soon have birds migrating north along the Mississippi flyway. The virus can infect wild and domestic birds and poultry.
There has been no human illness associated with these outbreaks and the risk to human health is low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poultry products including eggs are not affected by the virus. It is recommended by Michigan State University Extension and the USDA to properly cook all poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has created useful biosecurity resources for poultry and bird owners. Restrict access of your birds so that they do not come in contact with bodies of water that wild birds may access. Segregate new birds that you bring into your flock for at least 30 days. Sharing of equipment between neighbors is discouraged. If equipment is shared, disinfect it before and after use. Biosecurity actions are needed by caretakers as well. This includes not interacting with poultry or birds outside of your own. If you come in contact with other birds, change your clothes and disinfect your boots/shoes. Some of the commercial poultry infections were thought to be caused by people not changing their footwear before entering barns.
If your poultry or birds appear sick, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939 or on the after-hours emergency number at 517-373-0440. If you find dead wild birds, contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at 800-292-7800.
According to the state veterinarian, Dr. James Averill, “signs of avian influenza may include: lack of appetite and energy; significant drop in egg production; difficulty walking, swollen, head, combs, wattles or legs; nasal discharge; sneezing, coughing; bloody diarrhea, or sudden death.”
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit http://bit.ly/MSUENews. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
For immediate release: March 30, 2015
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724 or email@example.com
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is encouraging domestic bird owners to increase their biosecurity efforts and take appropriate steps to protect their birds from avian influenza. Since December 2014, the United States has been experiencing an increase in instances of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) affecting poultry in multiple states.
“Arkansas, Missouri, and Minnesota have detected avian influenza in commercial flocks recently which raises concerns that Michigan may be next as wild waterfowl will be migrating north soon,” said State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill. “The cause of infection for these birds is still unknown, but in the meantime domestic bird owners need to take appropriate steps to mitigate interactions with domestic and wild birds.”
Avian influenza is a viral disease that can infect wild birds and domestic poultry. Birds get the flu just as people do and, as with people, some forms of the flu are worse than others. HPAI can spread fast and quickly kill chickens and turkeys. Wild birds, however, can carry the virus without appearing sick.
No human infections with this virus have been reported, and the Centers for Disease Control considers the risk to people from this highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza to be low. In addition, poultry and eggs are safe to consume as long as they are properly handled and meat is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Averill recommends the following six steps for protecting domestic birds from H5 avian influenza:
· Keep your distance — Restrict access to your property and keep your birds away from other birds. Keep your poultry away from open ponds and waterways that may be visited by migrating waterfowl.
· Keep it clean — Wash your hands thoroughly before and after working with birds. Clean and disinfect equipment.
· Don’t haul disease home — Buy birds from sources that have disease monitoring programs and keep new birds separated for at least 30 days.
· Don’t borrow disease – Don’t share equipment or supplies with neighbors or other bird owners. If you must borrow, disinfect it first.
· Know the warning signs — Early detection can help prevent the spread of the disease. Check your birds frequently. If you find a sick or dead wild bird, don’t touch it.
· Report sick birds — If your birds are sick or dying, contact MDARD at 800-292-3939 or for after-hours emergencies 517-373-0440. If you notice dead wild birds, call the Michigan Department of Natural Resources hotline 1-800-292-7800.
Signs of Avian Influenza may include: lack of appetite and energy; significant drop in egg production; difficulty walking, swollen, head, combs, wattles or legs; nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing; bloody diarrhea, or sudden death.
For more information, visit http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.
The following USDA avian influenza and biosecurity resources are available online:
Main avian influenza page
AI Findings Update Page w/Chart
Avian Influenza Factsheets/Brochures (factsheets are easily printable from any computer)
Biosecurity for Birds
Biosecurity Poster (comes in biosecurity guide)
Set of 6 Fair Factsheets