Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Michigan finds avian influenza

Michigan has identified three goslings infected with avian influenza.

While it’s 150 kilometres from the nearest commercial poultry farm, officials are concerned. All poultry-industry gatherings have been cancelled to keep the virus from spreading.

Michigan joins 20 others states that have had outbreaks.

United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said this week that the virus is going to cost the federal treasury $410 and said the costs  could mount to $500 million.

That’s just the cost to the treasury to pay for birds ordered euthanized.

Farmers’ losses will be much higher than that because they lose income while their barns are empty, they face the difficult task of complete cleaning, power washing and disinfecting to remove every speck of dirt and dust.

And then they face renewed risks when the fall migration of infected ducks and geese begins. They are able to survive the virus, but they shed it in their poop which is believed to be the source of infections at poultry farms.

The domesticated birds have no immunity, so die like flies.

In Iowa poultry farmers say they are afraid to let their children ride their bikes less they drive through bird poop and bring the virus home.