Bird flu reported in backyard farm in South Georgia

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A form of highly contagious bird flu has been detected in a backyard farm in Toombs County, the first outbreak in Georgia this year, the state Department of Agriculture reported.

Late last month, after the flock owners reported sick birds and an increased rate of mortality, samples were taken and tested for the presence of H5N1 avian influenza virus.


The state veterinarian’s office issued an order last February after a highly contagious form of bird flu broke out in three other states canceling all exhibitions, shows, flea market or auction sales, swaps and meets involving poultry and other feathered fowl. That order remains in effect.

In Georgia, the outbreak appears to be limited to one farm, and bird flu has not been detected in commercial poultry in the state.

Bird flu 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 is the top sector of our No.-1 industry, agriculture, and we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of the many farm families that are dependent on it,” Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said Thursday. “In order to successfully do that, it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity.”

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.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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