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ARCHIVE H5N8 HPAI GLOBAL situation update

27 February 2019, 17:00 hours; Rome

The next update will be issued on 27 March 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.


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

Figure. Phylogenetic relationships of A(H5) clade HA genes from WHO’s Vaccine Composition Meeting Report, September 2018 [reference]

H5N8 HPAI events officially reported in Asia, Europe and Africa by onset date
Click to enlarge - There is considerable genetic diversity in viruses of clade The A(H5N8) viruses cluster isolated from the period October 2016 until present has HA gene segments that are phylogenetically distinct from the cluster of viruses isolated in Asia during the period in 2013-2014. Initially, H5N8 viruses have been reported mostly from Anatidae (wild and domestic), but since 2017 outbreak reports in domestic birds such as chicken and turkey have increased H5N8. Recent viruses (e.g. viruses isolated in Bulgaria in 2018) are genetically similar to those isolated since 2016. Additional information: NA subtypes other than N1 are specified. The tree was built from the nucleotide sequences coding for the mature HA1 protein. The scale bar represents the number of substitutions per site. Bootstrap supports of topology are shown above selected nodes. A/Anhui/1/2005 (clade 2.3.4) is used to root the tree. Human viruses are in bold font. The available CVVs are in red. The proposed CVV is indicated by a red dot(•).The viruses tested in haemagglutination inhibition assay are indicated by hashes (#).


Bird species affected by H5N8 HPAI

Domestic bird species affected

Anas platyrhynchos domesticus (Duck)

Anserinae sp. (Goose)

Gallus gallus domesticus (Chicken)

Meleagris gallopavo (Turkey)



Farmed wildlife species affected
(Private collections, displays or production)

Dromaius novaeollandiae (Emu)

Pavo cristatus (Peacock)


Grus paradisea (Blue Crane)

Perdicinae (Partridge)

Struthio camelus (Ostrich)

Numida meleagris (Common Guineafowl)

Phasianus colchicus (Common Pheasant)


Wild bird species affected

Involved in transmission

Anas clypeata (Northern Shoveler)

Anser anser (Greylag Goose)

Cygnus columbianus (Tundra Swan)

Anas crecca (Common Teal)

Anser brachyrhynchus (Pink-footed Goose)

Cygnus cygnus (Whooper swan)

Anas falcata (Falcated Duck)

Anser fabalis (Been Goose)

Cygnus olor (Mute Swan)

Anas penelope (Eurasian Wigeon)

Aythya ferina (Common Pochard)

Marmaronetta angustirostris (Marbled teal)

Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard)

Aythya fuligula (Tufted Duck)

Netta rufina (Red-crested Pochard)

Anas strepera (Gadwall)

Aythya nyroca (Ferruginous Pochard)

Tadorna tadorna (Common Shelduck)

Anas undulata (Yellow-billed Duck)

Aythyinae or Anatinae sp. (Wild Duck)


Anser albifrons (Greater White-fronted Goose)

Bucephala clangula (Common Goldeneye)


Accidental hosts

Alopochen aegyptiaca (Egyptian Goose)

Coscoroba coscoroba (Coscoroba swan)

Plectopterus gambensis (Spur-winged Goose)

Anser erythropus (Lesser white-fronted goose)

Cygnus atratus (Black Swan)

Plegadis falcinellus (Glossy Ibis)

Ara cloropterus (Green and red macaw)

Egretta garzetta (Little Egret)

Ploceus velatus (Southern Masked-Weaver)

Ardea alba (Great Egret)

Fulica atra (Common Coot)

Podiceps cristatus (Great Cested Grebe)

Ardea cinerea (Grey Heron)

Gallinula chloropus (Common Moorhen)

Recurvirostra avosetta (Pied avocet)

Ardea melanocephala (Black-headed Heron)

Grus grus (Common Crane)

Somateria mollissima (Eider)

Balearica regulorum (Crowned crane)

Grus japonensis (Red-crowned Crane)

Spheniscus demersus (Jackass Penguin)

Botaurus stellaris (Eurasian bittern)

Haematopus moquini (African Black Oystercatcher)

Sterna hirundo (Common Tern)

Branta canadensis (Canada Goose)

Himantopus himantopus (Black-winged Stilt)

Streptopella senegalensis (Laughing Dove)

Bubulcus ibis (Western Cattle Egret)

Lonchura sp. (Munia)

Streptopella decaocto (Eurasian Collared Dove)

Cairina moschata (Muscovy Duck)

Mycteria leucocephala (Painted Stork)

Sturnus vulgaris (Common Starling)

Calidris minuta (Little stint)

Numenius arquata (Eurasian Curlew)

Tachybaptus ruficollis (Little Grebe)

Charadrius alexandrines (Kentish Plover)

Numenius sp.( Curlew)

Thalasseus bergii (Swift tern)

Charadrius dubius (Little ringed plover)

Passer domesticus (House Sparrow)

Thalasseus sandvicensis (Sandwich Tern)

Charadrius hiaticula (Common ringed plover)

Pavo cristatus (Indian Peafowl)

Threskiornis aethiopicus (Sacred Ibis)

Chlidonias leucoptera (White-winged Black Tern)

Pelecanus onocrotalus (Great White Pelican)

Tringa glareola (Wood Sandpiper)

Ciconia ciconia (White Stork)

Pelecanus sp. (Pelican)

Tringa ochropus (Green Sandpiper)

Ciconiidae sp. (Stork)

Phalacrocorax capensis (Cape Cormorant)

Turdus merula (Eurasian Blackbird)

Columba guinea (African rock pigeon)

Phalacrocorax carbo (Great Cormorant)

Turdus philomelos (Song Thrush)

Columba palumbus (Common Wood-Pigeon)

Phalacrocorax pygmaeus (Pygmy Cormorant)

Turdus pilaris (Fieldfare)

Columba livia (Rock Pigeon)

Phoenicopterus roseus (Greater Flamingo)


Columbidae sp. (Pigeon)

Platalea leucorodia (Eurasian Spoonbill)


Scavenger birds and birds of prey

Accipiter gentilis (Northern Goshawk)

Corvus cornix (Hooded Crow)

Larus argentatus (Herring Gull)

Accipiter nisus (Eurasian Sparrowhawk)

Corvus frugilegus (Rook)

Larus fuscus (Lesser Black-backed Gull)

Accipiter nisus (Eurasian Sparrowhawk)

Corvus sp. (Crow)

Larus marinus (Great black-backed Gull)

Asio otus (Long Eared Owl)

Falco cherrug (Saker Falcon)

Larus michahellis (Yellow-legged Gull)

Bubo africanus (Spotted Eagle-Owl)

Falco peregrinus (Peregrine Falcon)

Pica pica (Common Magpie)

Bubo bubo (Eurasian Eagle-Owl)

Falco tinnunculus (Common Kestrel)

Strigiformes (Owl)

Buteo buteo (Common Buzzard)

Falco vespertinus (Red-footed Falcon)

Sula capensis (Cape Gannet)

Buteo rufofuscus (Jackal Buzzard)

Falco vespertinus (Red-footed Falcon)

Tyto alba (Common Barn-Owl)

Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus (Grey Headed Gull)

Haliaeetus albicilla (White Tailed Eagle)

Chroicocephalus hartlaubii (Hartlaub’s Gull)

Laridae (Gull)

Chroicocephalus ridibundus (Black-headed Gull)

Larus argentatus (Herring Gull)

Corvus albidae (Pied Crow)

Larus armenicus (Armenian Gull)

Corvus Corax (Common Raven)

Larus canus (Mew Gull)

Note: For each bird species, common name, genus and species name are listed. Species in subcategories are listed in alphabetic order, by their Latin name.


 FAO's support to countries

Global level

  • 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

White MC, Tao H, Steel J, Lowen AC. H5N8 and H7N9 packaging signals constrain HA reassortment with a seasonal H3N2 influenza A virus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Feb 13. pii: 201818494. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1818494116. [reference] IAV has a segmented genome, allowing for the exchange of gene segments in coinfected cells, termed reassortment, which requires a selective packaging mechanism to ensure incorporation of a complete set of segments into virus particles. In this study, authors evaluated the extent to which packaging signals prevent reassortment events that would raise concern for pandemic emergence. Specifically, they tested the compatibility of hemagglutinin (HA) packaging signals from H5N8 and H7N9 avian IAVs with a human seasonal H3N2 IAV. Their findings indicate that the likelihood of reassortment between human seasonal IAV and avian IAV is reduced by divergence in the RNA packaging signals of the HA segment, providing insight into the molecular mechanisms governing IAV emergence and inform efforts to estimate the risks posed by H7N9 and H5N8 subtype avian IAVs.


Bosco-Lauth AM, Marlenee NL, Hartwig AE, Bowen RA, Root JJ. Shedding of clade H5N8 and H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in peridomestic wild birds in the U.S. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2019 Feb 10. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13147. [reference] This study evaluated the susceptibility of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), house sparrows (Passer domesticus), and rock pigeons (Columba livia) to three strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HP AIV) clade isolated in the US. Experimental infection of European starlings and rock pigeons did not result in any overt signs attributable to AIV infection and no virus shedding was detected from the oral and cloacal routes. House sparrows shed by the oral route and exhibited limited mortality. Individuals from all three species seroconverted following infection. This data suggests that none of these birds are a likely potential bridge host for future HP AIV outbreaks but that their seroconversion may be a useful surveillance tool for detection of circulating H5 HP AIV.


Recommendations for affected countries and those at risk

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