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Agricultural and health officials monitor Bird flu's spread to Michigan dairy herds.

Picture of cows in a grassy field.
Jakob Cotton

State agriculture officials say experts across the nation are assessing the avian influenza outbreak among dairy herds.

The virus has been reported in herds in Ionia, Isabella, Ottawa, and Montcalm counties. Each herd is estimated to be more than 500 animals. The first infection was traced to Texas, where the virus is also being detected in herds.

The flu virus is being monitored on the “federal, state and local” level, according to State Veterinarian Nora Wineland. “We've identified additional suspected cases and those were reported to and are by local veterinarians, and producers and samples were submitted to the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for testing."

Wineland said the pattern of reporting and testing is expected to continue, “leading to the potential for more cases to be identified in the future.”

At an online press conference, Tim Boring, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that while the department was on “high alert,” they were “cautious about being too cautious.” Boring advises farmers to remain watchful of their animals for symptoms.

“I'd say that the standard practices of biosecurity around any sick animals right, like work with your veterinarian, follow logical health practices and enhanced biosecurity practices. remain vigilant,” he said.

Though the commercial milk supply is unaffected due to pasteurization, Boring said in an email that the outbreak has the department on “high alert.”

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