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ARCHIVE H5N8 HPAI GLOBAL situation update

29 May 2019, 17:00 hours; Rome

The next update will be issued on 26 June 2019


Information provided herein is current as of the date of issue. Information added or changed since the last H5N8 situation update appears in red. Human cases are depicted in the geographic location of their report. For some cases, exposure may have occurred in one geographic location but reported in another. For cases with unknown onset date, reporting date was used instead. FAO compiles information drawn from multiple national (Ministries of Agriculture or Livestock, Ministries of Health, Provincial Government websites; Centers for Disease Prevention and Control [CDC]) and international sources (World Health Organization [WHO], World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE]) as well as peer-reviewed scientific articles. FAO makes every effort to ensure, but does not guarantee, accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information. The designation employed and the presentation of material on the map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers.



Situation: H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) 2016 virus in Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East with pandemic potential.
Confirmed countriesx: Austria*, Belgium*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*,Bulgaria*, Cameroon*, China, Croatia*, Cyprus, the Czech Republic*, Democratic Republic of the Congo*, Denmark*, Egypt*, Finland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, France*, Germany*, Greece*, Hungary*, India*, Iran (Islamic Republic of)*, Iraq*, Ireland, Israel*, Italy*, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea*, Kuwait*, Lithuania, Luxembourg*, Namibia, Nepal*, the Netherlands*, Niger*, Nigeria*, Pakistan, Poland*, Portugal, Romania*, Russian Federation*, Saudi Arabia*, Serbia*, Slovakia*, Slovenia, South Africa*, Spain*, Sweden*, Switzerland, Tunisia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland*, Uganda*, Ukraine* and Zimbabwe*.

Number of human cases: None reported to date.

Countries reporting new events since the last update: Israel


x Reports of H5N8 HPAI events in Taiwan, Province of China, are not included in this update since the virus belongs to a genetically different strain.

* Countries in which the virus was detected in poultry.

Map 1. H5N8 HPAI events officially reported in Asia, Europe and Africa by onset date

H5N8 HPAI events officially reported in Asia, Europe and Africa by onset date
Click to enlarge - Note: The large map shows confirmed H5N8 HPAI events observed since 01 October 2018; the small map in the insert shows confirmed events observed between 01 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

Map 2. Global context: H5Nx HPAI events officially reported since 01 October 2018Global context: H5Nx HPAI events officially reported since 01 October 2018
Click to enlarge


For a list of bird species affected by H5N8 HPAI see Update 27/02/2019


 FAO's support to countries

Global level

  • EMPRES news, 27 March 2019: Update on FAO’s H5N8 HPAI assessment for Southern Africa [link]
  • Report of the WHO Vaccine Composition Meeting February 2019 [link]
  • Focus On “2016–2018 Spread of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in sub-Saharan Africa: epidemiological and ecological observations” – August 2018 [link]
  • Risk Assessment in February 2017 addressing H5N8 HPAI in Uganda and the risk of spread to neighbouring countries [link]
  • Press release on H5N8 HPAI in Uganda on 1 February 2017, the first time that HPAI was confirmed in the East Africa region [link]
  • Focus On “Highly Pathogenic H5 Avian Influenza in 2016 and 2017 – Observations and future perspectives” [link]
  • A webinar titled Intercontinental spread of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza – Analysis of the current situation and recommendations for preventive action, targeting national veterinary services and FAO regional and country teams, was conducted by FAO on 24 November 2016 [link]
  • EMPRES Watch, September 2016: H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) of clade detected through surveillance of wild migratory birds in the Tyva Republic, the Russian Federation – potential for international spread [link]
  • EMPRES news, 4 November 2016: H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza detected in Hungary and in the Republic of India H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza detected in Hungary and in the Republic of India [link]

Regional level

  • FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia news, November 2016: Highly pathogenic avian influenza spreading in Europe, South Asia [link]
  • FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia news, September 2016: Emergent Avian Influenza virus detected in surveillance of migratory birds in Russian Federation (FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia news [link]


Recent Publications

Mine J, Uchida Y, Nakayama M, Tanikawa T, Tsunekuni R, Sharshov K, Takemae N, Sobolev I, Shestpalov A, Saito T. Genetics and pathogenicity of H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses isolated from wild birds and a chicken in Japan during winter 2017-2018. Virology. 2019 May 2;533:1-11. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2019.04.011. [reference] This study reviews the genetics and pathogenicity surrounding the H5N6 HPAIV outbreak in Japanese poultry during January 2018, showing that the Hemagglutinin (HA) and internal genes of the virus were genetically similar to clade H5N8 HPAIVs in Europe during Winter 2016-2017, and Neuraminidase (NA) genes of the poultry and wild bird isolates were gained through distinct reassortments with AIVs that were estimated to have possibly circulated in Siberia during Summer 2017 and Summer 2016.


Beerens N, Heutink R, Pritz-Verschuren S, Germeraad EA, Bergervoet SA, Harders F, Bossers A, Koch G. Genetic relationship between poultry and wild bird viruses during the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N6 epidemic in the Netherlands, 2017-2018. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2019 May;66(3):1370-1378. doi:10.1111/tbed.13169. Epub 2019 Apr 5. [reference] This study reviews H5N6 HPAI events in the Netherlands which occurred in winter 2017-2018. This H5N6 virus is a reassortant of HPAI H5N8 clade group B viruses detected in Eurasia in 2016. The complete genome sequences of poultry and wild bird viruses were determined to study their genetic relationship. Genetic analysis showed that the outbreaks in poultry were not the result of farm-to-farm transmissions, but rather resulted from separate introductions from wild birds. In addition, the pathogenicity of H5N6 virus in ducks was determined, and compared to that of H5N8 viruses detected in 2014 and 2016. A similar high pathogenicity was measured for H5N6 and H5N8 group B viruses, suggesting that biological or ecological factors in the wild bird population may have resulted in the reduced mortality observed during the H5N6 epidemic. H5N6 viruses may have been less prevalent than H5N8 viruses in the wild bird population, or the exposure to H5N8 viruses in the previous year may have resulted in immunological protection against infection with H5N6 virus.


Guo F, Shen X, Irwin DM, Shen Y. Avian influenza A viruses H5Nx (N1, N2, N6 and N8) show different adaptations of their codon usage patterns to their hosts. J Infect. 2019 Apr 25. pii: S0163-4453(19)30126-4. doi:10.1016/j.jinf.2019.04.013. [reference] This study looked at the relationship between virus codon adaptation and their hosts. The authors found that for the HA gene, which encodes the main target recognized by the host immune system, natural selection accounts for 98% of the total selection pressure. Codon usage in the N1 subtype is best adapted to its host, consistent with their prevalence and circulation in poultry since 1996. The current epidemic NA subtypes (N6 and N8) are less adapted to the codon usage of their host compared with N1. The poorer adaptation of the codon usage in N6 and N8 to its hosts is consistent with the much fewer number of observed cases of human infection.


Recommendations for affected countries and those at risk

Please refer to the Update published on 11 October 2017 for a list of recommendations.