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Georgia Department of Agriculture
Tyler Harper, Commissioner
19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW
Atlanta, GA 30334

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Confirmed in Commercial Duck Flock in Georgia

Atlanta, Ga – Today, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a commercial Duck breeding operation located in Sumter County, Georgia, has tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). This is the first confirmation of HPAI in a commercial waterfowl flock 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 during poultry outbreaks is very low.

“For the first time in 2023, HPAI has been confirmed in a commercial Duck breeding operation in Georgia,” said Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper. “Our team of Animal Health Specialists responded immediately by quarantining the affected premises, beginning depopulation of all birds on site to prevent further spread of the disease, and they continue to monitor all other flocks within the control area. While HPAI does not represent a significant threat to humans or the safety of our food supply, its impact on poultry is devastating, and we’ll continue to work overtime with our partners at APHIS to protect Georgia’s poultry industry.”

On Saturday, November 18th the flock owner noticed signs of neurological impairment followed by increased mortality on Sunday. Samples were taken on Sunday and HPAI was identified on Monday by UGA’s Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. These results were further confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, late in the evening on Tuesday, November 21.

Animal Health officials with the Department immediately issued a quarantine on the affected premises, and the affected flock is being depopulated by Department staff. Approximately 30,000 birds will be depopulated to prevent further spread of the disease. 

Officials will test and monitor any additional flocks within a 10 Kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the affected premises and no other flocks within the surveillance area have tested positive or experienced any clinical signs to date. APHIS is working closely with the Department’s Animal Health staff to monitor the situation and prevent further spread of the disease.

The announcement follows similar confirmations from Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida in recent weeks. Wild birds are the source of the virus. Avian influenza virus strains often occur naturally in wild birds and can infect wild migratory birds without causing illness.

Owners of poultry flocks are encouraged to closely observe their birds and report a sudden increase in the number of sick birds or bird deaths to the Avian Influenza Hotline at 770-766-6850. More information is available on the Department’s website. For more updates and information regarding biosecurity tips visit:

Protect Your Flock (Georgia Dept. of Ag) 
Defend the Flock - Resource Center (USDA APHIS) 
AI Information for Hunters (USDA) 
Avian Influenza FAQ 
Protect Your Livelihood PDF

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About the GDA The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is the voice of the state's agriculture community. The department's mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce.

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For more information, visit www.agr.georgia.gov.

Georgia Department of Agriculture logo

Georgia Department of Agriculture
Tyler Harper, Commissioner
19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW
Atlanta, GA 30334