Bird exhibitions allowed to resume as Michigan avian influenza outbreak dwindles

Carol Thompson
The Detroit News

Poultry and waterfowl exhibitions can resume in Michigan because the avian influenza outbreak has dwindled across the state, agricultural officials said Monday. 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development lifted its statewide ban on exhibitions Saturday. The department had issued the ban on May 10 to prevent the highly contagious virus from spreading through things like shows, exhibitions, swap meets and fair displays.

The department lifted the ban because Michigan has gone 30 days without a new detection of avian influenza in domestic poultry. 

Although it hasn't reached domestic flocks in the last month, the virus remains in Michigan, state veterinarian Nora Wineland said. 

"(Avian influenza) continues to be detected in wild birds throughout the state, which is not unexpected as the virus is known to be carried by wild birds," Wineland said in a statement. "Since the virus is still present in the environment, it is still crucial for owners and caretakers of domestic birds to take every step possible to protect their flocks."

Prevention strategies include:

  • Preventing contact between domestic and wild birds.
  • Disinfecting boots and gear when moving between coops.
  • Washing hands after handling birds and when moving between coops.
  • Disinfecting equipment between uses.
  • Keeping poultry feed secure.