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Michigan poultry growers watching for new Avian Flu

Michigan poultry growers have so far not been affected bya dangerous new avian flu.

Nearly a million turkeys in a half dozen states and Ontario have died from the bird flu.

“If the high-path avian influenza, the H5N2, shows up in this state it’s pretty easy to find,” says Mick Fulton, associate professor of avian diseases at Michigan State University, “because there’s going to be a lot of dead birds.”

In some cases in Missouri and Minnesota, barns housing 2,000 turkeys had fewer than 50 living birds with 48 hours of the infection taking hold.

The H5N2 virus appears to be particularly deadly to turkeys and quail.   It appears to be less lethal in chickens.   Fulton says there are no cases of human infections from this current bird flu strain. 

The disease is spread by migratory birds.  But Fulton says Michigan lays outside the main fly ways for the infected birds. 

“There’s a chance we can see it,” says Fulton. “But certainly not as great as what it’s been in Minnesota, Arkansas, Missouri…the areas where they have heavy migratory water fowl migration.”

Fulton warns people who keep backyard chickens to keep them clear of migratory birds.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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