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State confirms first bird flu case of 2023

Zachariah Smith

The state confirmed this year’s first case of highly contagious avian influenza in a backyard poultry flock in Eaton County on Monday.

15 birds were culled as a result of the infection. They were likely infected by wild birds migrating north as winter slowly turns to spring.

Jennifer Holton is the communications director for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. She says bird owners need to take proper biosecurity measures to protect their flocks.

"Whether that's, you know, four chickens or 40, chickens," said Holton. "Having the ability to reduce the potential for wild birds to intermingle with their backyard birds is just absolutely key to being able to keep your birds safe and healthy."

In the month of March alone, over 80,000 birds have been impacted across the country by bird flu. Last year saw one of the nation’s worst bird flu outbreaks in the last decade.

The risk of bird flu jumping to humans remains extremely low.

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.