SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has found the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a free-range bald eagle.

The Shiawassee County Health Department took to Facebook to encourage flock owners to protect their poultry and prevent the spread of HPAI.

According to the health department, HPAI can be spread to domestic flocks via wild birds, contact with infected poultry, equipment and clothing or shoes from poultry caretakers.

Though the CDC says that the flu doesn’t pose an immediate health risk, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) urges poultry owners to do the following:

  • 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 sues. 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 not contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.

Shiwassee County residents are asked to not handle sick or dead birds, and to report any instance of sick or dead birds to the MDNR.

Those who notice the death of three or more free-ranging birds should report it to the DNR through the Eyes in the Field site (https://bit.ly/37SLBm3) or by calling the wildlife disease lab at 517-336-5030.

Poultry owners and caretakers should keep an eye out 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, contact MDARD at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).

Shiawassee County Health Department is continuing to work diligently with local, state and federal partners to quickly respond to reports of sick or dead domestic birds to best mitigate the spread of HPAI and provide outreach.