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Bird flu hits turkey flock in Newaygo County as virus spreads in Michigan

turkey farm. turkeys close-up.
Agriculture officials have detected bird flu in at least two commercial poultry flocks in Michigan. (Sergey Kolsnikov, Shutterstock)
  • A turkey flock in Newaygo County tested positive for bird flu 
  • It’s the second commercial poultry flock in the state this year known to have been infected with the disease 
  • The bird flu is highly contagious and farmers are required to kill the infected birds to prevent the disease from spreading

May 1: Michigan farmers must step up bird flu fight under new emergency order

The bird flu continues to impact poultry flocks in Michigan as wild birds make their migration from the south. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last week that highly pathogenic avian influenza had been detected in a commercial flock of turkeys being raised for meat in Newaygo County.


News of the outbreak, which affected more than 67,000 turkeys, comes after the disease was detected in a poultry flock in Ionia County earlier in April. Officials detected the disease in a flock of hens at the Green Meadow Organics facility owned by Herbruck’s, the top egg producer in Michigan.


“Taking preventative measures to keep wild birds away from farms is essential to combatting HPAI and limiting its impact,"  said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. "As wild birds continue to migrate and the outside temperatures remain cool and temperate, conditions are ideal for the virus to spread.”

The latest outbreak at a commercial facility is the seventh since 2022, when the disease was first reported in Michigan, the state Department of Agriculture confirmed.  

It’s not just Michigan poultry farms that have been impacted. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected the disease this month in four dairy herds in Ionia, Isabella, Ottawa and Montcalm counties.

Agriculture officials are examining whether cattle and poultry infection cases somehow could be linked. 

"Part of the focus on this today has been a spillover event into dairy cattle in a unique way,"  Tim Boring, director of MDARD, told Bridge Michigan.

“We're in a bit of a unique situation now too, of reevaluating what we've known about this virus and what transmission has looked like and what susceptibility to dairy cattle has looked like in a way that a few weeks ago we hadn't experienced.” 

Food safety

Bird flu can be fatal to domestic poultry flocks, and once the disease has been detected, farmers are required to “depopulate” or kill the infected birds to prevent the disease from spreading further, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


But the disease affects cattle very differently. Unlike poultry, most cattle typically recover from avian flu, though the cows may produce less milk and may present other mild symptoms, the state agriculture department says.  

According to Michigan agriculture officials, people cannot contract bird flu from eating infected poultry or their eggs. “Poultry and eggs that are properly prepared and cooked are safe to eat. Proper food safety practices are important every day,” the state says.

As for milk, the virus is killed through the pasteurization process and therefore is not considered a threat to consumers.

People can get the virus through other means, however. The bird flu can be easily transmitted through infected machinery and equipment or clothing. The Michigan agriculture department recommends that farmers wash their hands between handling birds, disinfect boots, areas and equipment between coops and use well or municipal water as drinking water for the birds.

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