District Health Department Four is offering recommendations to those who own or have contact with birds after the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was recently confirmed in a wild bird in Presque Isle County.
No human illness has been identified in connection with this infected bird.
District Health Department Four is sharing this information to alert people who own or work with birds, including poultry, to the possibility of infection and recommended precautions.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza in birds is not a food safety concern. You cannot get avian influenza by eating properly cooked poultry products.
Both wild and domestic birds, including chickens, may be infected with avian influenza viruses. Avian flu viruses spread easily among birds and — while rare — can spread from birds to people. Spread of avian flu viruses from a bird to a person mainly happens through droplets, the same way that human flu viruses spread.
If exposed, individuals need to watch for symptoms of influenza for 10 days after their last exposure to the infected birds. Similar to seasonal influenza illness in humans, avian influenza viruses can be treated using influenza antiviral drugs. These medications work better the sooner they are given. If you suspect you may be ill, please contact your health care or urgent care provider.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses to be low. To date, no human highly pathogenic avian influenza infections have been detected in the United States.
Birds or flocks infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza may not show routine signs of illness. Sudden death is a major indicator of highly pathogenic avian influenza. However, sick birds may show neurological signs such as difficulty walking, lack of appetite, energy or vocalization, significant drop in egg production, swollen combs, wattles, legs or head, diarrhea, or sneezing, coughing or nasal discharge.
In Michigan, highly pathogenic avian influenza has been previously detected in wild birds and non-commercial poultry flocks. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development urges poultry owners to step up their own biosecurity precautions by minimizing the number of people coming in contact with birds, isolating birds from wild birds whenever possible, and disinfecting hands and clothing after coming in contact with poultry.
Residents who notice the death of three or more free-ranging birds should report it to the DNR through the Eyes in the Field app or by calling (517) 336-5030. If your domestic poultry is experiencing severe illness or multiple death losses, contact Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at (800) 292-3939.
This article originally appeared on Cheboygan Daily Tribune: Avian influenza confirmed in wild bird in Presque Isle County