A late Christmas gift for Ga. poultry growers

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper says that as of this past Wednesday Georgia has achieved free status for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in poultry following a November outbreak at a commercial raised-for-release waterfowl facility in Southwest Georgia. As listed with the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH, formerly OIE), this designation allows exports and international trade for Georgia poultry products to be restored.

“Following the detection of HPAI in a commercial raised-for-release waterfowl flock in Southwest Georgia, our State Agricultural Response Team (SART) immediately deployed to the affected premises where they worked through the Thanksgiving holiday to successfully contain the outbreak and mitigate any further spread,” Harper said. Flock owners should note, however, Harper added, that a HPAI-free status in poultry is not an “all clear” or an indication that the risk of the disease is over in Georgia or the U.S. Owners of all flocks, large and small, need to remain vigilant in biosecurity and prevent the virus’s introduction.

The influenza virus is still very active throughout parts of the country. HPAI has been identified on 1,050 premises in 47 states since February 2022, with new cases as recently as this week. Wild birds infected with HPAI have been found from coast to coast in various species, including waterfowl (ducks, geese, gulls, etc.), raptors (vultures and eagles), as well as other common species (wild turkey), and has also been detected in some wild mammals (bear, mountain lion, etc.)