The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee. There have been no reports of Avian Influenza in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Agriculture continues to be vigilant in surveillance efforts and working with growers in their practice of bio-security measures.
“In light of the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry this year, we challenge all of our poultry producers to redouble their biosecurity efforts,” said Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb. “We urge our backyard growers to practice extreme caution during this period of heightened alert and consider moving poultry with outside access into biosecure housing immediately.”
HPAI is known to be deadly for domesticated poultry – chickens, turkeys, guineas, quail, and peafowl. HPAI does not pose a risk to the food supply. The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low.
“We are certainly concerned for our neighbors in Tennessee and will keep them in our thoughts and prayers as they deal with this economic hit,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “Poultry is Georgia’s number one industry and we must take this threat seriously. Wild waterfowl can harbor the Avian Influenza virus without getting sick. We cannot keep the waterfowl from coming to Georgia, but we can keep them and this virus from getting into our domestic poultry by practicing strong biosecurity.”
Owners of commercial and backyard poultry flocks are encouraged to closely observe their birds and report a sudden increase in the number of sick birds or bird deaths to the state veterinarian’s office at (855) 491-1432. For more updates and information regarding biosecurity tips visit www.ga-ai.org or www.allinallgone.com.