06/01/2015 05:45 EDT | Updated 06/01/2016 05:59 EDT

Michigan announces ban on bird exhibitions to guard against spread of avian flu

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan has banned poultry and waterfowl shows at fairs and elsewhere to fight the spread of bird flu.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced the decision Monday. The department calls it a difficult move but says avian flu is a spreading danger that has appeared in more than a dozen states.

So far, there aren't any reported cases in Michigan.

James Averill is the state veterinarian and says officials "know the tremendous amount of time, money and passion" that bird exhibitors put into the shows.

The state agency is also asking Michigan residents to be alert to possible cases of avian flu among wild or domestic birds and to alert the state.