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Avian Flu Found In Branch County
By: Mike Stiles - Monday, May 2, 2022

(photo courtesy of CHA)

(COLDWATER) – A highly pathogenic case of Avian Influenza has been been found in a backyard flock in Branch County.

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency says they were notified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture And Rural Development about the case of flu. MDARD and the CHA are working with the poultry owner.

CHA Health Officer Rebecca Burns says the risk to humans is low, unless you have been in direct contact with sick or dead birds. She says they are encouraging all poultry owners to implement proper biosecurity measures. Poultry is safe to consume if properly prepared.

Poultry owners should take the following measures to protect their flocks: 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 so there is no contact between the
feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.

Signs and Symptoms of HPAI include: Sudden death; Lack of appetite, energy, or vocalization; Drop in egg production; Significant decrease in water consumption; Abnormal behavior like difficulty walking; Swollen combs, waddles, legs or head; Diarrhea and Nasal discharge, sneezing, or coughing.

If Avian Influenza is suspected, you can contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 during the daytime or after hours 517-373-0440.

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