Michigan agency: Branch County the latest where bird flu found

The Associated Press

Lansing – Bird flu has been confirmed in a backyard poultry flock in south central Michigan’s Branch County, the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Saturday.

Following an investigation by the agency, the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory detected the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a non-commercial flock, the agency said Saturday.

The infected flock contained about 20 birds of various species, the agency said. The premises are under quarantine and the birds will be destroyed to limit spread of the disease.

“As wild birds continue to migrate and spread the virus, it is not unexpected to see more cases of HPAI being detected in domestic flocks across the state,” State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said in a news release.

Bird flu can spread in various ways, including through wild birds, contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing of caretakers, the department said.

State officials earlier reported cases of bird flu this year in Kalamazoo, Macomb, Livingston, Menominee, Saginaw and Washtenaw counties.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the public health risk associated with this bird flu detection is low and no birds or bird products infected with it will enter the commercial food chain.