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Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

What is “avian influenza"?
Influenza A Viruses that infect birds are called “avian influenza". There are 2 types, Highly Pathogenic (HPAI) and Low Pathogenic (LPAI).

What is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza?
HPAI is a highly contagious virus in birds and poultry that can be spread directly by infected wild birds or animals or indirectly through any item that has been exposed to the virus, such as equipment, feed, or the clothing and shoes of caretakers. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strains are deadly to domestic poultry and can wipe out entire poultry flocks within a matter of days. The virus has been detected in various species of mammals, including dairy cattle.

What is Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza?
Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) strains typically cause few or no signs of illness. They occur naturally in wild birds around the world. However, some LPAI strains can become highly pathogenic in poultry.

Does Avian Influenza affect people?
Avian influenza does not usually directly infect people; however, several instances of human infections and outbreaks have been reported. Those who work with infected animals may be at higher risk to get Avian Influenza.

When such infections occur, public health authorities monitor the situation closely because of concerns about the potential for more widespread infection.

What are the symptoms?
If you’re a bird...most flu viruses cause no symptoms, or only mild ones in wild birds. Infection with certain avian influenza A viruses can cause widespread disease and death among some wild birds and especially birds such as chickens and pheasants. Reported symptoms of HPAI include sudden death, a significant drop in water consumption, lack of energy, lack of appetite, lack of vocalization, drop in egg production, diarrhea, nasal discharge, sneezing or coughing.

If you're dairy cattle... reported symptoms of avian influenza in dairy cattle include reduced lactation, low appetite, abnormal milk, abnormal, tacky or loose feces. Most dairy cattle will recover from Avian Influenza with proper quarantine and supportive treatment.

If you’re a person...reported symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe breathing problems, viral pneumonia, and other severe and life-threatening problems.

Is there a cure/shot for this disease?
Antiviral drugs are often effective against influenza A virus strains in otherwise healthy adults and children, but have some limitations. Some of these drugs are also expensive and supplies are limited and they may not be effective against these new strains of flu.


Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development issued an HPAI Risk Reduction Order for the state of Michigan on May 1, 2024.

You can find information on the counties affected, reporting requirements, and guidance for farm biosecurity, at MDARD-Avian Influenza.

Reporting Suspected HPAI Infections
If you suspect your poultry or diary cattle have HPAI, you should report this to the Michgan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

Please Note: HPAI in poultry is NOT evidenced by one dead bird or one coughing/sneezing bird while the remainder of the flock is acting normally. Instead, for small flock owners, look for two or more dead birds within a 24-hour period and symptoms in the rest of the flock (not eating, acting lethargic or sleepy with eyes closed, tucking their head close to their body, and appearing to be puffed up).

Domestic Animals
800-292-3939 (daytime)
517-373-0440 or 412-847-2255 (after-hours)

If you find more than 2 dead wild birds on your property contact 517-336-5030 or online at Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Eyes in the Field form.

Organization Information

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Organization Documents

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