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Michigan Sample Tests Positive for Low Path Avian Flu

A sample from a wild teal shows the presence of low path H5 and N1 avian flu subtypes, but not high path H5N1 strain.

USDA and the Department of the Interior announced Friday that a sample taken from a wild Green-winged teal in Michigan tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza. The bird was shot by a hunter in Tuscola County, and initial tests indicate that it did not have the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has spread through birds in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Low pathogenic avian flu poses no direct threat to human health and is commonly found among wild birds in North America.

The contaminated sample is one of 51 collected from various species in Michigan as part of a monitoring program on the alert for highly pathogenic avian flu. USDA and DOI expect to find more cases of common avian flu strains in birds while monitoring for the dangerous highly pathogenic form.

The sample tested positive for H5 and N1 subtypes, but this does not mean that it contains the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain. Similar detections have been made across the country, and in each case further testing confirmed the presence of low pathogenic avian flu but no highly pathogenic strain.

Scientists will conduct further tests on the samples in order to determine the specific subtype and confirm the pathogenicity of the sample. Results are expected within two to three weeks and will be made public upon completion.

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