Avian Influenza found in Toombs County

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 4:06 PM EDT
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TOOMBS COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service have confirmed Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Toombs County.

It the first confirmation of HPAI in Georgia.

Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner says his department acted as swiftly as they did in this case, not only to protect people in the local community, but also the poultry operations nearby that help to feed people from coast to coast and beyond.

Commissioner Gary Black credited the owner of the exotic bird flock with reporting the first sign of sickness among his bird and the vultures that fly nearby. Black says his department went to the Toombs County site and collected birds for testing.

He says they were forced to euthanize hundreds of peacocks, ducks, and chickens to prevent the spread of avian influenza. He says they couldn’t risk it reaching commercial poultry operations when Georgia poultry helps feed millions of people and means almost 30 billion dollars to the state’s economy.

“It is clear to see how HPAI could affect not only poultry farmers but our state’s economy as a whole.”

He says they’re working with poultry growers to be on the look out for any signs of infection but hopes the risk of spreading has been stopped.

He says his department will continue to monitor the situation, not only that site but the surrounding area.

Avian influenza does not pose a risk to the food supply, and no affected animals entered the food chain.

The risk of human infection with avian influenza is very low.

Poultry flock owners are asked to observe their birds and report a sudden increase in the number of sick birds or bird deaths to the Avian Influenza Hotline at 770-766-6850.

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