LANSING, Mich. – Highly pathogenic avian influenza has caused big problems in states already battling the disease, but Michigan's first confirmed cases of H5N2 came in the smallest packages — three Canada goose chicks.
The goslings, which were found in Sterling Heights, Mich., tested positive for the virus. The birds were delivered to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) last week. The Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State Univ. conducted initial tests. The results returned positive and were later forwarded to the National Veterinary Services Lab of the US Department of Agriculture in Ames, Iowa. DNR and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) received final confirmation on June 7.
“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 emphasized that the virus has not been detected in the state's commercial poultry industry. However, state officials will now begin preventing the spread of the disease to commercial poultry.
Last week, MDARD canceled all 2015 poultry and waterfowl exhibitions in the state. Exhibitions, swap meets, petting zoos at fairs, game bird and waterfowl displays and Miracle of Life exhibits were included in the ban.
“This confirmed positive finding of highly pathogenic avian influenza prompts several steps that are informed by Michigan’s Surveillance and Response Plan for HPAI in free-ranging wildlife,” said Keith Creagh, DNR director. “The DNR and MDARD are working with other experts and taking advantage of every available resource to ensure a swift, appropriate response that limits the spread of HPAI.”