Low pathogenic avian flu found in Chattooga County poultry flock
By: Georgia Farm Bureau
4/5/2017 1:49:09 PM
A flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding farm in Chattooga County tested positive for presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) of the H7 strain, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) announced March 27. The case is considered a presumptive low pathogenic case because the flock showed no signs of illness.
The virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening of the commercial flock and was confirmed as H7 avian influenza by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The flock of 18,000 was depopulated as a precaution, the GDA reported.
Officials are testing and monitoring other commercial flocks in a 6.2-mile surveillance area of the farm and backyard flocks within 2 miles of the farm, as established by USDA protocol, according to the GDA. At press time no other flocks in Georgia had tested positive.
The presence of avian flu in Georgia comes after two cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) were confirmed in Lincoln County, Tennessee, March 5 and 14 and a case of LPAI in Giles County, Tennessee, on March 8. All of the Tennessee cases of avian flu were detected in commercial poultry flocks.
Cases of LPAI were confirmed in a commercial poultry flock in Christian County, Kentucky, on March 20 and in Pickens County, Alabama, on March 21. Alabama also confirmed a case of LPAI in guinea fowl at a flea market in Jackson County, Alabama, on March 16 and in a backyard poultry flock in Madison County, Alabama on March 21.
Wild birds are carriers of avian influenza, Georgia's State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb said. He explained that the difference between highly pathogenic and low pathogenic avian flu strain is that highly pathogenic strains spread rapidly.
Due to the cases of avian flu that had been detected in other Southeastern states, Cobb issued an official order on March 16 prohibiting poultry exhibitions, swaps and meets, shows and sales at festivals, flea markets or auctions in Georgia until further notice.
"It is crucial that we all take extra precautions during this high alert situation to protect the State of Georgia from this devastating virus," Cobb said. "The best way to do that is to stay vigilant maintaining our biosecurity measures and to avoid the unnecessary transport and comingling of birds."
The GDA has stressed the importance of both commercial and backyard poultry producers following biosecurity measure recommended by the USDA.
"Poultry is the top sector of 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. "In order to successfully
do that it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity."
Visit www.ga-ai.org for the most recent updates on avian flu in Georgia. Biosecurity recommen-
dations for commercial and backyard flocks are also available there and at www.gfb.org/avianflu.
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