Ga Dept of Agriculture


Avian Influenza

UPDATE - The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) have confirmed Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial, backyard flock (non-poultry) located in Toombs County, Georgia. This is the first confirmation of HPAI in Georgia. Avian influenza 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.

The flock owners reported sick birds and an increased rate of mortality. Samples taken on May 29 were 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). This is the first detection of the virus in domestic birds in Georgia in 2022. There are no detections in commercial poultry in the state.

The official order suspending poultry exhibitions and assembly of poultry, issued by the state veterinarian's office on February 16, was lifted on July 1st (press release). Poultry exhibitions, shows, sales (flea markets, auction markets), swaps, and meets can resume within the state of Georgia. GDA urges poultry producers attending such events to follow strict biosecurity.

If you suspect your birds have avian influenza, call the AI Hotline at 770-766-6850. Testing is free through the For more information regarding Avian Influenza read our frequently asked questions.

Full Press Release

Avian influenza is a viral disease of poultry. It can be of low pathogenicity (LPAI), causing mild disease, or of high pathogenicity (HPAI), causing severe disease and death. There are different strains of the virus, for example H1N1 or H7N3. Some AI LPAI viruses can mutate and become HPAI viruses. Waterfowl contribute to the spread of Avian Influenza.

Signs and Symptoms

LPAI can resemble any other mild respiratory disease (noise, swollen faces, conjunctivitis). In breeders, egg production drops and eggshells may be soft. With HPAI, birds may become quiet, not eat and drink, have diarrhea, and have discolored combs and feet. Birds may also die suddenly with no signs of disease.


To Prevent AI in Small Flocks

  • Ensure all entry requirements including testing for Avian Influenza are met prior to movement of birds.

  • Use dedicated footwear and wash your hands when tending your flock.

  • Do not let poultry drink untreated water from lakes and ponds.

  • Do not let waterfowl become residents close to small domestic flocks.

  • Do not come into direct contact with your flocks if you have seen birds in another country or been involved with hunting, or in contact with any other birds (zoos, auctions, flea markets, live bird markets).

Promptly report any observation of wild or domestic birds with the signs as described above.