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Georgia - Backyard chickens and bird flu: What are the dangers?

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  • Georgia - Backyard chickens and bird flu: What are the dangers?

    Backyard chickens and bird flu: What are the dangers?

    ? updated Friday, April 24, 2015 - 10:35am

    Will the virus make its way to Georgia?

    Yes, said Dr. Nancy Cox, former chief of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    ?I think it?s inevitable, I really do,? she said. I think all the states that have a lot of poultry production in particular are vulnerable...
    But UGA?s David Stallknecht says whether or not the disease sticks around is up for debate. The virus can quickly produce devastating consequences, but a key factor will be the duration of the outbreak in the hardest hit states.

    ?(There are) a lot of things for it to compete with while it?s here. It?s questionable whether it?s actually going to persist,? said Stallknecht, a wildlife expert and professor at the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine. ?There has never been, not one, Eurasian virus that has ever come into North America and persisted ? that has been detected.?

    ...although there has not been one case of human infection in the U.S., a low risk of people contracting the virus does exist.
    ?So we don?t know all of the different risk factors for human infection,? said Cox. ?We know that there is a high species barrier for the avian influenza viruses to jump from birds to infect humans.?

    The disease would have to go through quite a few mutations to make someone sick.
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