ATLANTA – Georgia became the latest state to deal with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) confirmed the virus in a non-commercial, backyard flock (non-poultry) in Toombs County, Ga. 

GDA said that no affected animals entered the food chain and that HPAI does not pose a risk to the food supply.

“Poultry is the top sector of our number one industry, agriculture, and we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of the many farm families that are dependent on it,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black. “In order to successfully do that, it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity.”

Samples were taken on May 29 and tested for the presence of H5N1 avian influenza virus in the flock by the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network (GPLN) and USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL). The test was confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

APHIS said it was working closely with state animal health officials in Georgia on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property were depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease.

This is the first detection of the virus in domestic birds in Georgia in 2022. There have been no detections in commercial poultry in the state.

GDA also explained that the official order suspending poultry exhibitions and assembly of poultry issued in February remains in effect. This order prohibits all exhibitions, shows, sales (flea markets, auction markets), swaps and meets involving live poultry and feathered fowl in Georgia until further notice.