LANSING, MICH. — After another case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was reported on Dec. 27 in a backyard flock in Michigan, animal health officials reminded poultry producers to maintain vigilant biosecurity practices even during the winter months.

“Despite the cold winter temperatures, HPAI can remain viable in the environment, and not all wildlife species susceptible to the virus migrate out of the state. Even at this time of year, the risk from HPAI cannot be completely eliminated,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM, after the discovery of the virus in a backyard flock of approximately 20 birds of mixed breeds in Sanilac County, Mich.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development investigated the outbreak, which the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed.

To prevent the infection of other flocks in Michigan, the premises were placed under quarantine, and the birds were culled.

“Bird owners must stay vigilant and continue to take every step they can to prevent their flocks from being exposed to the virus,” said Wineland. “Actively working to ensure the health of Michigan’s domestic birds is still of the utmost importance.”

In late 2022, animal health officials announced that the number of birds affected by HPAI in the United States surpassed 50 million, the number reported in 2015 after a widespread outbreak swept across the country.  

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