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Georgia Dept of Ag Says Avian Influenza Confirmed in a Backyard Flock in Toombs County

The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) reports that they have confirmed Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial, backyard flock (non-poultry) located in Toombs County.

This is the first confirmation of HPAI in Georgia. 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.

The flock owners reported sick birds and an increased rate of mortality. Samples taken on May 29 were tested for the presence of H5N1 avian influenza virus in the flock by the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network (GPLN) and USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL). This is the first detection of the virus in domestic birds in Georgia in 2022. There are no detections in commercial poultry in the state.

“Poultry is the top sector of our number one industry, agriculture, and we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of the many farm families that are dependent on it,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black. “In order to successfully do that, it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity.”

The official order suspending poultry exhibitions and assembly of poultry, issued by the state veterinarian’s office on February 16, remains in effect. This order prohibits all exhibitions, shows, sales (flea markets, auction markets), swaps and meets pertaining to poultry and feathered fowl in the State of Georgia until further notice.

Poultry flock owners are encouraged to closely 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. For more updates and information regarding biosecurity tips visit:

Protect Your Flock (Georgia Dept. of Ag)
Defend the Flock – Resource Center (USDA APHIS)
AI Information for Hunters (USDA)
Avian Influenza FAQ
Protect Your Livelihood PDF

*According to the Georgia Dept of Ag, “Non-poultry” is a designation used by USDA for international reporting purposes to identify backyard flocks that aren’t engaged in commercial activities and does not imply that chickens or turkeys aren’t present.

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