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DNR confirms avian flu in wild birds in 3 Michigan counties

March 25, 2022 GMT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Avian influenza has been confirmed in wild birds found in three southeastern Michigan counties, the state Department of Natural Resources says.

The DNR announced Thursday that highly pathogenic avian influenza had been detected in free-ranging Canada geese and tundra swans from St. Clair County, in snowy owls from Macomb County and in a mute swan from Monroe County.

The discovery comes as millions of turkeys and chickens at commercial farms in numerous states have been killed this year due to avian influenza.

The spread of the disease is largely blamed on the droppings of wild birds, such as ducks and geese, which often show no signs of illness.

DNR Director Dan Eichinger said Michigan’s ongoing focus is working to prevent the disease’s spread in wildlife and domestic poultry in the state.

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He said that in light of Michigan’s confirmed positive cases of avian flu in wild birds, officials are “taking advantage of every available resource that aims to limit the spread of HPAI.”

The bird flu outbreak among commercial flocks in the U.S. was first detected in February in a commercial turkey farm in southern Indiana. Since then, it has been confirmed in both commercial and backyard flocks in numerous states, including Illinois, where last week it was found in a backyard flock in the state’s central region.