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Avian influenza spread outpaces previous outbreaks

Nebraska Central District Health Department

Michigan officials are warning of harm to wild birds and domestic poultry flocks as bird flu continues to spread.

This strain of the virus is highly pathogenic, - meaning it can cause severe disease in birds.

Bryan Richards is the emerging diseases coordinator at the National Wildlife Health Center. He said this outbreak is killing wild birds at higher rates than the last major outbreak that spanned 2014 and 2015.

"In the state of Michigan, we’re seeing a lot of smaller wild bird events. Some of those involving raptors, avian scavengers, things like eagles, turkey vultures, and hawks and owls as well," he said.

Richards said this strain of bird flu is infecting more species of birds than the last outbreak. But the CDC says the risk of the virus spreading to people is low.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has said the temporary removal of bird feeders might help curb the spread of bird flu.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.
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