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Michigan lawmakers receive update on state's response to avian flu

State lawmakers receive update on Michigan's response to avian flu
State lawmakers receive update on Michigan's response to avian flu 02:15

(CBS DETROIT) - The strategy calls for bio-containment and testing when it comes to Michigan's response to the avian flu

State agriculture officials provided lawmakers with an update on Wednesday on how Michigan is responding to the virus. 

"Michigan's response to this has been really unique across the country. It's been a one of health approach of both executing response to animal and public health here in the state," said Dr. Tim Boring, the director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The avian flu, also called H5N1, has been found in both poultry and dairy cows in Michigan so far. There have also been two cases of avian flu in humans. Both individuals have fully recovered.

"The safety of the food supply remains secure and intact," Boring said. "We're taking a lot of proactive steps here in Michigan to make sure that we're protecting workers' health and human health on all of this. Our concern level continues to be of how the virus might mutate and what future threats might be." 

For birds, the avian flu is very lethal, but for cows, the outcomes tend to be different. Boring says officials are very focused on containment.

"We've implemented a number of biosecurity practices on farms that are in direct relationship to what we've learned about the virus so far — scientifically based, defendable approaches," he said. "We're going to continue to refine what that approach looks like in the weeks and months to come of prioritizing biosecurity and mitigating the threat of the virus."

Moving forward, officials stress the importance of taking basic steps.

"It's mitigating exposure to wild birds, of course, but be mindful of visiting other farms, implementing basic cleaning and disinfecting procedures. It's making sure you're changing clothes, washing hands, protecting yourself, whether it's coverings of your face, whether your eyes or mouths, when we're in proximity to animals that might be suspected of having this."

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