It has been a while since we saw a new state added to the list reporting HPAI H5 in either wild birds, captive birds, or domestic flocks but today Michigan reports the discovery of H5N2 in wild geese.
This was not an unexpected finding, and the state had already decided to prohibit the showing of birds at county and state fairs (see MDARD's State Veterinarian Stops Bird Movement to Protect Health of Michigan Poultry) as of June 1st.
While HPAI detections have been on the wane these past couple of weeks with the arrival of warmer weather, it is expected that these viruses continue to circulate in wild birds, and could easily re-emerge next fall.
Media contacts: Ed Golder (DNR), 517-284-5815 or Jennifer Holton (MDARD), 517-284-5724
The Michigan departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today announced the state’s first confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N2 in the state. The disease was found in free-ranging Canada geese in Macomb County. Avian influenza is a virus that can infect both free-ranging and domestic poultry such as chickens, turkeys, quail and geese.
Three goslings collected last week in Sterling Heights were delivered to the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Laboratory for necropsy. Initial testing was performed at Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health in Lansing. These tests were positive and the samples were forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa, for final confirmation. MDARD and the DNR received confirmation Saturday, June 6, that the goslings were infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N2.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from these HPAI viruses to be low. To date, no human HPAI infections have been detected in the United States. Avian influenza is not a food safety concern and no birds or bird products infected with HPAI will enter the food chain. Michigan is the 21st state to report a case of HPAI since December 2014. In the other 20 states, the virus has been found in captive wild birds or free-ranging birds, backyard flocks, and commercial flocks. Michigan also becomes the 6th state to detect in wild or free-ranging birds only. To date, there are 226 detections of HPAI across the country (affecting approximately 50 million birds), with Iowa and Minnesota experiencing the most cases.
“While this is disappointing news that the H5N2 virus has been found in Michigan’s free-ranging bird population, it was not unexpected given avian influenza has been found in a number of our neighboring states and Ontario,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams.
Clover Adams stressed that avian influenza has not been identified in Michigan’s domestic poultry flocks.
“MDARD will continue to work hand-in-hand with our backyard and commercial poultry farmers to conduct surveillance testing and provide education along with Michigan State University’s Extension on implementing and stepping up on-farm biosecurity practices to protect the health of Michigan’s domestic poultry,” she said.
Keith Creagh, DNR Director, said the state’s chief focus now is preventing the disease’s spread in wildlife and its transmission to domestic poultry.