Michigan officials have temporarily banned all poultry and waterfowl exhibitions amid the avian flu outbreak that's spreading quickly across the U.S. and has prompted farms to euthanize millions of birds.
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland and Director Gary McDowell announced the ban Tuesday, saying it will last until Michigan goes 30 days without a case of the avian flu.
“By taking this step now, it is hoped that poultry exhibitors can still participate in fair activities once circumstances have improved," Wineland said in a statement.
Avian flu can spread be spread from flock to flock, including wild birds, and through contact with infected poultry, equipment and the clothing of caretakers. The state says bringing poultry from different flocks to one location, like at a county fair, creates a “significant risk” for the animals.
In 2015, avian flu prompted a similar ban on Michigan poultry shows. It impacted nearly 4,000 youth who participate in poultry 4-H projects at county fairs throughout the state.
The latest outbreak of avian flu hit North America in December and has led to the culling of about 37 million chickens and turkeys in U.S. farms since February. More than 35 million birds in flocks across 30 states have been affected.
Twelve non-commercial backyard flocks in nine Michigan counties have been infected, impacting a total 870 birds, MLive.com reported.
More information about avian flu can be found at Michigan.gov/birdflu.