SANILAC COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — A lab with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Development has detected bird flu in a Sanilac County backyard flock of poultry.

This is the first time that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been found in the county.

“Even in cold winter temperatures, bird owners still need to actively protect their flocks from HPAI,” a statement from MDARD said.

State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said that bird owners should stay vigilant and protect their flocks.

“Actively working to ensure the health of Michigan’s domestic birds is still of the utmost importance,” said Dr. Wineland.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.

The premises is currently being quarantined, and the birds were depopulated to prevent disease spread.

According to MDARD, the flock had approximately 20 birds of mixed species. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the public health risk associated with this avian influenza detection remains low.

MDRARD recommends the following steps 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.