Michigan’s bird flu response unsettles residents central to state’s economy

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Increasingly strict regulations have blanketed some of the state’s small towns as it attempts to contain cases in cattle and humans that have spiked in recent months,. States across the nation are looking to Michigan and examining their response to the outbreak as a number of public health officials have begun to raise concerns about a possible pandemic.

Prior to 2024, cases of bird flu had never been reported in cows. However, beginning with Texas in March, 12 different states have reported infected cattle. Most cases in humans are a result of exposure to poultry, but with this influx of dairy farm cases, experts have grown worried about person-to-person transmission.According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Michigan cattle herds are the third most infected in the nation, behind Idaho and Colorado. In April alone, 6.

Brian DeMann, a farmer from Martin, Michigan, said he feels an eery similarity between bird flu restrictions and the state’s response to COVID-19. He wishes the regulations would simply be recommendations. Dairy cattle feed at a farm on March 31, 2017. Another Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu, the third of four human cases associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows. For the 13,000 residents of Ionia, Michigan, community is necessary for survival. When poultry from the state’s largest egg producer, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, caught bird flu from cattle, a slew of painful layoffs corroded the nearby city.

 

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