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ARCHIVE H5N8 HPAI GLOBAL situation update

08 August 2018, 17:00 hours; Rome

The next update will be issued on 26 September 2018


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*,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 2017; the small map in the insert shows confirmed events observed between 01 June 2016 and 30 September 2017

Map 2. Global context: H5Nx HPAI events officially reported between 01 October 2017 and 08 August 2018H5N8 HPAI events officially reported in Asia, Europe and Africa by onset date
Click to enlarge


For a list of bird species affected by H5N8 HPAI see Update 03/05/2018


 FAO's support to countries

Global level

  • Report of the WHO Vaccine Composition Meeting February 2018 [link] and September 2017 [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

Adlhoch C, Dabrera G, Penttinen P, Pebody R; Country Experts. Protective Measures for Humans against Avian Influenza A(H5N8) Outbreaks in 22 European Union/European Economic Area Countries and Israel, 2016-17. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Oct 17;24(10). doi: 10.3201/eid2410.180269.[reference] This study assessed the risk to the general public of avian influenza A(H5N8) virus outbreaks in twenty-three countries in the Union/European Economic Area and Israel during 2016-2017. Risk to the general public was assessed as low in 18 countries and medium in 1 country. Of 524 exposed persons identified, 274 were passively monitored and 250 were actively monitored. Of 29 persons tested, all were negative for H5N8 virus.


Nagy A, Dán Á, Černíková L, Vitásková E, Křivda V, Horníčková J, Masopust R, Sedlák K. Microevolution and independent incursions as main forces shaping H5 Hemagglutinin diversity during a H5N8/H5N5 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in Czech Republic in 2017. Arch Virol. 2018 Aug;163(8):2219-2224. doi:10.1007/s00705-018-3833-7. [reference] This study assessed the causes of diversity for the H5N8/H5N5 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus strains detected in the Czech Republic during an outbreak in 2017. Network analysis of the H5 Hemagglutinin (HA) from 99% of the outbreak localities suggested that the diversity was influenced by both local microevolution and independent incursions. Three eco-regions apparently played an important role in the origin and further spread of the local H5N8/HPAI variants across the country.


Al-Ghadeer H, Chu DKW, Rihan EA, Abd-Allah EA, Gu H, Chin AWH, Qasim IA, Aldoweriej A, Alharbi SS, Al-Aqil MA, Al-Sahaf A, Abdel Rahman SS, Aljassem AH, Abdul-Al A, Aljasir MR, Alhammad YMO, Kasem S, Peiris M, Zaki AZSA, Poon LLM. Circulation of Influenza A(H5N8) Virus, Saudi Arabia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Oct 17;24(10). doi: 10.3201/eid2410.180846. [reference] This study provides full-genome analyses of highly pathogenic H5N8 viruses recently detected in different provinces in Saudi Arabia. The deduced sequences revealed that H5N8 viruses (n = 11) from different sites in Saudi Arabia are almost identical (sequence identity >99.7%), indicating a common origin for this outbreak. Phylogenetic analyses of HA sequences showed that they belong to clade group B.


Root JJ, Bosco-Lauth AM, Marlenee NL, Bowen RA. Viral shedding of clade H5 highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses by American robins. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2018 Jul 17. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12959. [reference] In this study American robins were experimentally infected with three clade HP H5 viruses (H5N2 and H5N8). A total of 22/24 American robins shed virus, and all three strains were represented. This study adds an additional synanthropic wildlife species to a growing list of animals that can successfully replicate and shed IAVs.


Grund C, Hoffmann D, Ulrich R, Naguib M, Schinköthe J, Hoffmann B, Harder T, Saenger S, Zscheppang K, Tönnies M, Hippenstiel S, Hocke A, Wolff T, Beer M. A novel European H5N8 influenza A virus has increased virulence in ducks but low zoonotic potential. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2018 Jul 19;7(1):132. doi: 10.1038/s41426-018-0130-1. [reference] This study investigated zoonotic potential, of a representative 2016 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N8, clade group B (H5N8B), in animal models and a human lung explant culture biological properties. Cross-species infection was evaluated in mice, ferrets, and in a human lung explant culture model. While the H5N8B isolate was highly virulent for Balb/c mice, virulence and transmissibility were grossly reduced in ferrets, which was mirrored by marginal replication in human lung cultures infected ex vivo. Our data indicate that the 2016 HPAIV H5N8B is avian-adapted with augmented virulence for waterfowl, but has low zoonotic potential.


Recommendations for affected countries and those at risk

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