ATLANTA – Officials with the Georgia Agriculture Department euthanized birds that came from an Iowa farm infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza. According to news reports, three small flocks were culled on June 16 after officials discovered chickens and eggs that may have been exposed to the virus were shipped to 37 states. The state’s poultry industry generates $28 billion annually and is the top broiler producer in the US.

This month, poultry producers raising birds with outside access received a notice from State Veterinarian Robert Cobb, DVM, to move all poultry into housing immediately and to implement strict biosecurity measures.

“In Georgia, the birds and eggs were shipped to one location in the western part of the state and two in the middle part of the state,” Cobb said in a report published by Growing Alabama. “They were destroyed, but not tested for the virus.

“We are confident that we are going about this the proper way and we are removing all the hatching eggs and birds,” Cobb said.

Arizona faced a similar threat. On June 15, agriculture officials quarantined 13 quail and chickens and about 40 quail and partridge eggs that came from an Iowa farm where birds tested positive for HPAI.

Wild migratory birds were partially responsible for introducing the virus into commercial poultry operations. But the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said the virus also was spread through alternate pathways including lapses in biosecurity measures and possibly by air.