MNR releases guidelines on anticipating a fall outbreak of avian influenza
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking all hunters to be alert and careful when harvesting and handling wild birds due to the presence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus.
“As Michigan’s waterfowl hunters head out into fields and swamps this season, we want them to know there’s a lot they can do both to help prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza and to protect themselves. themselves, others and our bird and wildlife populations. safe,” said Megan Moriarty, state wildlife veterinarian with the DNR.
MNR has published guidelines for waterfowl hunters which include the following:
- Only harvest waterfowl that act and appear healthy, be sure not to handle or eat diseased game
- Dress on the pitch and prepare for play outside or in a well-ventilated area
- Wear disposable rubber or latex gloves when handling and cleaning game
- Remove and discard intestines soon after harvest and avoid direct contact with intestine contents
- Do not eat, drink, smoke or vape while handling carcasses
- When you have finished handling game, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, clean knives, equipment and surfaces that have come into contact with game, and wash your hands before and after handling meat.
- Keep waterfowl cool, below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, until processed, then refrigerate or freeze
- Thoroughly cook all game to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating
Although the rate of positive cases has slowed over the summer, a recent increase in wild bird mortalities, neurologically abnormal wild birds, and HPAI detections has caused the DNR to issue additional guidance. According to the MNR, flu experts expect a resurgence of bird flu as waterfowl begin to migrate and the fall hunting season begins.
The virus is still considered widespread in wild bird populations in Michigan, as it is still being detected through wild bird surveillance activities. Dabbling ducks are most commonly infected, but geese, swans, shorebirds and other species can also be infected.
“Bird flu or ‘bird flu’ is caused by viruses that infect both wild and domestic birds. Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses can seriously affect the health of domestic birds, wild birds, and sometimes humans and other mammals,” Moriarty said.
The DNR has also published these tips to help prevent the spread of HPAI:
- Report wild bird deaths immediately to your state wildlife management so they can be investigated and tested for avian flu. Especially if it’s six or more birds.
- Prevent contact of domestic or captive birds with wild birds
- Do not handle sick or dead wild animals. If necessary, use a shovel, wear waterproof gloves, wash hands with soap and water, and change clothes before contact with domestic poultry or pet birds.
To report wild bird deaths, you can call the MNR Wildlife Disease Lab at 517-336-5030, call a local MNR wildlife office to speak to a field biologist, or use the Eyes app in the Field of the MNR and choose the “sick fauna”. report option.