Highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in Canada geese in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development announced June 8 the state’s first confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N2 in the state.

The disease was found in free-ranging Canada geese in Macomb County, north of Detroit. The county borders Lake St. Clair.

Avian influenza is a virus that can infect both free-ranging and domestic poultry such as chickens, turkeys, quail and geese.

Michigan had previously banned all poultry shows for 2015.

Three goslings collected 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.

The state received confirmation June 6 that the goslings were infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N2.

Affects all flocks

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 sixth 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.

Adams stressed that avian influenza has not been identified in Michigan’s domestic poultry flocks.

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.

Wild birds commonly have avian influenza and sometimes spread it to domestic birds through direct or indirect transmission. Ducks and geese are considered carriers; however, geese generally do not pass it on.

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