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HPAI Infects 3 More Herds

Published: Friday, April 19, 2024

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director Tim Boring last Friday announced the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in dairy herds in three additional counties—Ionia, Isabella and Ottawa—bringing the total number of affected herds to four.

On March 29, MDARD announced the state's first HPAI-positive dairy herd located in Montcalm County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed these detections.

"What is happening with HPAI in Michigan, mirrors what is happening in states across the country. This virus does not stop at county or state lines, which is why we must all be on high alert. This news is unfortunate and upsetting for our poultry and dairy farming families and communities," said Boring. "Experts from across the nation continue to assess this situation and provide insights into the role of HPAI in the affected livestock as they become aware. MDARD continues working with our federal, state, and local partners to respond robustly to this disease. Thanks to recent budget investments, MDARD is well poised to properly engage in this response. If you believe your livestock are showing clinical signs, contact your veterinarian immediately. We're all on the same team as we combat HPAI."

According to the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease and Prevention, the commercial milk supply remains safe due to federal animal health requirements and pasteurization. Federal experts continue to stress there is no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply or that this circumstance poses any increased risk to consumer health. Analysis of the virus from this case and the other cases of affected cattle has not shown any significant new adaptation to make the virus more transmissible between mammals. Therefore, the public health risk associated with HPAI remains low.

In Michigan, state law requires pasteurization for any milk sold in stores. Pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk.

"HPAI doesn't affect dairy cows the same way as it does with poultry. With proper veterinary care, cows are recovering. Biosecurity is the best line of defense. Still, we want to stress working with your veterinarian is fundamental for the recovery of affected dairy cows," said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. "It continues to be vitally important for producers to work with their veterinarian, minimize the number of visitors to their farms, prevent contact between their animals and wildlife and continue to monitor the health of animals vigilantly."

Dairies continue to be strongly encouraged to implement enhanced biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of disease. It is recommended to limit persons coming onto dairies to employees and essential personnel only and to follow best management practices, including washing hands often.

Producers who have concerns about their animals' health and/or questions regarding how to improve the measures they take to protect animal health on their farm should contact their veterinarian.

If anyone suspects the presence of HPAI or any other reportable animal disease in their domestic animals, contact MDARD immediately at 800/292-3939 (daytime) or 517/373-0440 (after-hours).

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