If you suspect your birds have avian influenza, call the AI Hotline at (770) 766-6850. Testing is free through the gapoultrylab.org/avian-influenza-hotline/.
Avian influenza is a viral disease of poultry. It can be of low pathogenicity (LPAI), causing mild disease, or of high pathogenicity (HPAI), causing severe disease and death. There are different strains of the virus, for example H1N1 or H7N3. Some LPPAI viruses can mutate and become HPAI viruses. Waterfowl and other wild birds contribute to the spread of avian influenza.
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.
For the first time in 2023, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza HPAI has been confirmed in a commercial Duck breeding operation in Georgia,” said Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper. “Our team of Animal Health Specialists responded immediately by quarantining the affected premises, beginning depopulation of all birds on site to prevent further spread of the disease, and they continue to monitor all other flocks within the control area. While HPAI does not represent a significant threat to humans or the safety of our food supply, its impact on poultry is devastating, and we’ll continue to work overtime with our partners at APHIS to protect Georgia’s poultry industry.” USDA has published all detections of HPAI in poultry and wild birds on the APHIS website. Below are detections in the state of Georgia in 2023.
|County||NVSL Confirmation Date||Type of Flock|
|Sumter||November 21, 2023||Commercial duck breeding operation|
What Flock Owners Should Do
Increase Biosecurity: It is extremely important for poultry owners to increase biosecurity measures to protect their birds from HPAI. The USDA Defend the Flock website has helpful resources for keeping poultry healthy in any operation.
Best biosecurity practices include:
- Ensuring all entry requirements including testing for Avian Influenza are met prior to movement of birds.
- Use dedicated footwear and wash your hands when tending your flock.
- Do not let poultry drink untreated water from lakes and ponds.
- Do not let waterfowl become residents close to small domestic flocks.
- Do not come into direct contact with your flocks if you have seen birds in another country or been involved with hunting, or in contact with any other birds (zoos, auctions, flea markets, live bird markets).
Monitor Flocks: Monitor your flock for signs and symptoms of avian influenza including monitoring production parameters (feed and water consumption, egg production) and increased morbidity and mortality. Any changes in production parameters that could indicate HPAI should be reported.
Signs and symptoms of Avian Influenza include:
- Drop in egg production, soft eggshells
- Discolored combs and feet
- Birds stop eating or drinking
- Sudden mortality
Report Disease: Promptly report any observation of domestic or wild birds with the signs as described above.
Domestic birds: Call the AI Hotline at (770) 766-6850. Testing is free through the gapoultrylab.org/avian-influenza-hotline/
Wild birds: Report dead or sick bald eagles or vultures when seen in unusually high numbers in a single location to DNR at (478) 994-1438.
Resources and Information
- Avian Influenza: How to Protect Your Flock Video (Georgia Dept. of Ag)
- Protect Your Flock Rack Card(Georgia Dept. of Ag)
- Recognizing and Preventing Avian Influenza Flyer (Georgia Dept. of Ag)
- Defend the Flock - Resource Center (USDA APHIS)
- AI Information for Hunters (USDA)
- Avian Influenza FAQ
- How to Cope with Stress During an Animal Disease Outbreak
- How to Prevent Compassion Fatigue
- GDA Press Releases about Avian Influenza