News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

State issues emergency order to help curb bird flu outbreak

Dairy cows lined up
Preston Keres
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Dairy cows on Reinford Farms outside of Mifflintown, Pennsylvania on Jan. 24, 2018.

An emergency order has been signed by Michigan's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in an effort to curb the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu.

HPAI has been confirmed in 9 states since August and over over 6.6 million birds were affected by the virus in the month April, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since late March, six Michigan dairy herds have had confirmed cases.

The order requires dairy and poultry farmers to implement biosecurity measures to limit the spread of the highly-contagious virus. These measures include tracking all travel through operation property, designating a biosecurity manager and establishing disinfecting procedures at access points for commercial farm operations.

"These measures will help us better protect the our state against the spread of this virus and keep our animals healthy," said Dr. Nora Wineland, the state's veterinarian.

The order also puts a hold on the exhibition of lactating and infected cattle, as well as all poultry. Bird cannot be shown until no new cases of bird flu have been reported for 30 days, and 60 days for cattle.

At a recent press conference, state officials reassured that the public health risk is remains low. They also confirmed that there have been no human cases in the state, with the only confirmed one in the country being a man in Texas.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend the following good health practices to minimize risk of exposure," said Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian. "Please make sure the milk you drink is pasteurized [and] continue to practice hand washing, especially after coming into contact with wild or domestic animals."

Brianna Edgar is a newsroom intern covering the Tri-Cities for WCMU.