Avian flu remains a concern | News, Sports, Jobs

Tests in the state of Michigan recently confirmed the presence of bird flu in two bald eagles found dead at separate sites in Dickinson and Iron counties.

The eagles are thought to have caught the virus by feeding on diseased waterfowl, such as ducks and geese, which are thought to be particularly susceptible to bird flu.

The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department also announced that it has alerted domestic poultry owners in both counties to be aware that HPAI, or highly pathogenic avian influenza, has been detected, and the urged them to take the necessary precautions to protect their birds.

This was not the first case of bird flu reported in the Upper Peninsula. In April, it was detected in a noncommercial domestic backyard flock in Menominee County.

Things to watch out for, DIDHD said, include unusual deaths, a drop in egg production, a significant decrease in water intake or an increase in the number of sick birds.

If avian influenza is suspected in domestic birds, those caring for them should contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development immediately at 800-292-3939 during the day or 517-373-0440 after Business hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated that HPAI occurs primarily in birds, is highly contagious and can be fatal, especially in domestic poultry.

He noted that the HPAI H5N1 virus detected in the United States is a new combination of avian flu genes never seen before, but no human cases associated with the virus have been reported and he considers the risk to people to be low. . However, the CDC said it’s possible it could infect people and cause serious illness.

MDARD said following certain measures can help protest domestic birds. For people with only a few backyard birds or a large commercial flock, prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing domestic birds indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed is an important step.

Bird owners should wash their hands before handling birds, disinfect boots and other equipment when moving birds between barns, and not share equipment or other supplies between barns or other farms.

Other measures include cleaning and disinfecting equipment between uses, using well or municipal water as drinking water for birds, and keeping poultry feed secure to eliminate contact between food and wild birds or rodents.

There always seems to be something in nature that can pose a danger to farm animals, wildlife and people, and bird flu is one of those dangers.

We urge people with pet birds to take precautions, not only for the good of their birds, but also for the ecosystem in general, which includes humans.

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Jessica C. Bell