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Avian flu affects Georgia chicken shows, sales

 
POSTED: March 25, 2017 5:00 a.m.

Poultry shows, exhibitions and flea market and auction sales have been suspended in Georgia after cases of Avian Influenza were confirmed in Tennessee.

On Thursday, March 16, Georgia’s state veterinarian, Robert Cobb Jr., released a memo outlining the suspension, though he stressed the bird flu has not been found in Georgia poultry.

“Implement strict biosecurity on all poultry premises; all outdoor poultry should be moved into bio-secure housing and any contact with wild birds of any kind, especially waterfowl, their habitat, or their droppings should be avoided; if you use rendering for dead poultry disposal, please verify that the trucks are disinfected at each pick up and that the freezer area is kept clean and clutter free; take the necessary precautions around any congregation points for growers or backyard owners; monitor all flocks for increased mortality or clinical signs consistent with HPAI and enroll in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP),” the memo said.

According to the memo, in early March, confirmed cases of HPAI were found on a commercial poultry farm in Lincoln, Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, euthanized the animals to prevent further spread, but on March 16, a second commercial poultry farm less than two miles from the original farm also confirmed cases of HPAI.

Cases of LPAI were also confirmed in Giles County, Tennessee and investigations are ongoing in Alabama at one commercial and two backyard poultry farms.

The Alabama investigation reportedly began after routine surveillance at a flea market.

Though Forsyth County is home to two major poultry producers, American Proteins and Tyson Foods, a spokesman for Tyson said the suspension will not affect the local industry, nor is it a food safety concern.

In a news release updated March 16, Tyson said the company will monitor its poultry at all locations.

“All of our U.S. poultry operations continue to operate under heightened biosecurity as a result of outbreaks that affected the poultry industry in the U.S. in 2015, and we continue to communicate best practices to all farmers who contract with us,” the release said. “This is a bird health issue and not a food safety or human health concern.”

For more information regarding the Avian flu or Georgia Department of Agriculture guidelines, visit: agr.georgia.gov/avian-influenza.aspx.

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