Georgia has not had any confirmed cases of avian influenza in 2015, but the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is training its employees how to deal with flocks affected with the virus in case it appears in the state.
“We’re trying to educate and train as many people within the department as possible to be able to respond if we do have that incident tomorrow,” Daniel Duncan, GDA livestock and poultry program manager, told 41NBC.
One of the training activities the department conducted on July 22 at Fort Valley State University involved how to euthanize flocks of poultry that have been infected with avian influenza.
Between December 2014 and June 2015, 21 states have had confirmed cases of avian influenza, including Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, California, Indiana, Nevada, Kentucky, Michigan and New Mexico.
The most recent avian influenza case in a commercial flock was confirmed by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on June 17.
The U.S. poultry industry and government agencies are preparing themselves for avian influenza’s possible return in the fall. While so far in 2015, the virus was only found in three of the nation’s four flyways – Pacific, Central and Mississippi – USDA officials have stated that the industry needs to expect it to return in those three flyways, as well as appear in the Atlantic flyway, where Georgia is located.