Georgia officials on alert after bird flu found in Tennessee - CBS46 News

Georgia officials on alert after bird flu found in Tennessee

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Georgia's farmers and agriculture officials are concerned after a confirmed case of bird flu in Tennessee.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture said Tuesday they were on alert because of a confirmed case of Avian influenza in Tennessee on a commercial chicken farm that supplies chickens to Tyson Foods.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said the case in Tennessee is the closest it's ever been to Georgia.

"We’re the number one poultry producing state in the nation, therefore it's incumbent upon us to be the best prepared should this ever happen here," he said.

The H7 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, was found in a flock of 73,500 chickens in Lincoln County, Tenn. in the central part of the state on the border with Alabama, the USDA said.

The state works closely with commercial poultry producers but wants to make sure people with backyard chickens are also taking the proper steps to prevent the spread of the disease, which is transmitted from water fowl. For example, changing your shoes before you go into an area with chickens and making sure you're washing your hands.

"We can’t keep the water fowl from coming to Georgia but we can prevent the disease if we have good biosecurity practices and make sure we keep a close watch on our birds in our backyards," said Black.

Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb asked backyard growers to do their best to protect their poultry.

"We urge our backyard growers to practice extreme caution during this period of heightened alert and consider moving poultry with outside access into biosecure housing immediately," Cobb said.

Black said this is not a food safety issue.

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