Restrictions on poultry exhibitions and public sales in Georgia have been lifted.
The restrictions were put in place March 16 after highly pathogenic avian influenza was found in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. The state prohibited exhibitions, swaps and meets, auctions and shows or sales at festivals and flea markets.
The low-pathogenic form of the virus was discovered in a flock in north Georgia on March 28.
Since that time, there haven’t been major confirmations or investigations of avian influenza in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia, according to a release issued by State Veterinarian Robert Cobb Jr.
On Wednesday, the state released the “surveillance zone” that was put in place in Chattooga County after the virus was found in birds there. There have been multiple rounds of negative testing, according to Cobb, and there has been “extensive negative surveillance in commercial and backyard poultry in all the affected states.”
Another key factor is the weather – warmer temperatures mean a lower risk of the virus.
Though the restrictions have been lifted, Cobb urges Georgians to continue sound practices, including avoiding any contact with wild birds, especially water birds and their habitat or droppings. Avian influenza typically spreads from wild birds, especially waterfowl.
Owners of backyard flocks should continue to take precautions to prevent the introduction of disease from other animals or tools, buckets, vehicles and even shoes.
“Do not bring disease back to your poultry,” Cobb said. After visiting poultry assemblies or places where wild birds or other poultry are, “clean and disinfect yourself, any items and your vehicle before returning to your farm,” he said. “Always isolate any new additions for a period of time to help prevent introduction of disease into your flock.”
Georgians with poultry should continue to monitor their flocks for signs of disease. If you have any questions or think birds may be sick, contact the avian influenza hotline at 855-491-1432 or the Georgia Poultry Laboratory at 770-766-6850.
You can register your flocks at http://agr.georgia.gov/avian-influenza.aspx