Ag News

Avian Influenza affecting western commercial flocks

by Compiled by Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Oct 25, 2023 at 17:45 PM


Commercial poultry producers in Minnesota, South Dakota and Utah have sustained flock losses in a 30-day period ending Oct. 24 due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), according to data provided by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Information Service (APHIS).

In that time span, HPAI has been detected in 12 commercial turkey flocks, affecting an estimated 520,000 birds, and 10 backyard flocks affecting another 100,000 birds.

In 2022 and 2023, a total of 862 flocks in 47 states have had confirmed cases of HPAI, affecting 59.41 million birds.

The most recent HPAI detection in Georgia occurred in August 2022, though U.S. outbreaks are always cause for concern because Georgia is the top poultry-producing state. The state’s chicken broilers and egg production are worth an estimated $4.5 billion annually.

Poultry producers are encouraged to maintain rigorous biosecurity practices and to monitor their flocks for signs of avian influenza infections, including a decline in egg production, producing soft eggshells, discolored combs and feet, birds stop eating or drinking, diarrhea and sudden mortality.

According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, HPAI 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.

If you suspect your birds have avian influenza, call the AI Hotline at 770-766-6850. Testing is free through the Georgia poultry lab website.  For more information about avian influenza, visit the GDA avian influenza webpage at for biosecurity resources.

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