Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.
Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.

Concern After Cattle Herd Catches Avian Flu 

04/01/24 11:36 AM By Team MIRS

(Source: MIRS.news, Published 03/29/2024) A herd of dairy cattle in Montcalm County was found to have contracted the highly pathogenic avian influenza, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

MDARD Director Tim Boring said further investigation was needed by state and federal officials . . .  but the cattle were recently brought from Texas. Before being moved from Texas the cattle did not have any symptoms and were not ill. He asked cattle producers to contact their veterinarian if there was any concern. 

“Our highest priority at MDARD remains protecting our food supply and ensuring animal health. As this situation evolves, we will provide critical updates to producers, industry and all Michiganders,” Boring said. 

State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said the virus is highly contagious and is primarily spread by wild birds and contact with infected animals. She said mammals can contract the virus. 

“As more is learned, it is vitally important for producers to work with their veterinarian and isolate sick animals from others, minimize the number of visitors to their farms, prevent contact between their animals and wildlife, and continue to vigilantly monitor the health of their animals,” Wineland said. 

She said the spring is a migration window for birds, which is a period of higher risk for avian flu and said there isn’t any indication of concern for domestic flocks in Michigan at this time. 

“I think this is a really rapidly evolving situation and there’s a lot that we are still working to understand,” Wineland said. 

MDARD said the public health risk associated with this outbreak still remained low to humans and the analysis of the virus from the case and other cases of infected cattle hasn’t shown an adaptation to be more transmissible between mammals. 

“MDARD is working diligently and in close collaboration with government partners, producer groups, and Michigan dairy farmers to address the situation and prevent the spread of disease,” Wineland said.