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Bird flu detected in another Michigan dairy herd, bringing number of affected herds to 26

Assistance on the way for Michigan farmers impacted by bird flu
Assistance on the way for Michigan farmers impacted by bird flu 01:11

(CBS DETROIT) - The highly pathogenic avian influenza was detected in another dairy herd in Gratiot County, which brings the total number of affected herds in the state to 26. 

The case was detected after testing by the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Still, samples have been sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories for additional confirmation. 

Bird flu has been detected in several herds in the state, including herds in Ionia, Isabella and Ottawa counties, and has also been detected in two Michigan farmworkers

The first detected case in a human in the U.S. was in a farmworker in Texas and the second two were in Michigan farmworkers. 

The third farmworker who contracted the bird flu reported acute respiratory symptoms, while the other two only reported eye symptoms. 

Last week, a farmworker in Colorado tested positive for bird flu, marking the fourth human case in the U.S. 

With the announcement of this new detection of bird flu in a Gratiot County dairy herd, producers are reminded of the guidelines issued by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring to reduce the spread of avian influenza.

Guidelines issued for Michigan dairy farms to reduce bird flu spread

  • Designate a biosecurity manager
  • Designate a line of separation to represent the perimeter of a secure area, limiting access points
  • Establish cleaning and disinfection practices and procedures at those access points for both vehicles and individuals, including deliveries of feed and other supplies, and training for employees
  • Establish a logbook maintaining a record of all vehicles and of individuals who have gotten out of vehicles and crossed those access points, to be retained and made available for examination upon request by MDARD.  

Key steps for protecting health of dairy herds 

In addition to the previously released guidelines, MDARD released more steps to protect dairy cattle. 

  • Delay or stop incoming or returning animals from herds with unknown or suspect health status.    
  • Isolate all animals that are new or returning to your farm.    
  • Monitor the health of your animals daily.    
  • Contact your veterinarian if there are ever any animal health-related concerns or if you would like to develop a secure food supply plan. 
  • Sick animals should have dedicated equipment and be cared for after tending to healthy animals first.    
  • Clothing, footwear, and equipment worn/used around sick animals should not be worn/used around other animals until they are cleaned and disinfected. Use an EPA-registered disinfectant effective against avian influenza.    
  • Do not share tools, equipment, trailers, etc. with other farms.
  • Clean and disinfect the interiors of trailers used to haul animals from other operations.    
  • Limit non-essential visitors to your farm.    
  • If individuals have recently been on a poultry farm, they should not visit a dairy operation, and vice versa.    
  • Require or provide clean clothing and footwear to those entering your farm.    
  • Use hand-washing stations and provide gloves to those working on your farm.    
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