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ARCHIVE H5N8 HPAI GLOBAL situation update

24 October 2018, 17:00 hours; Rome

The next update will be issued on 28 November 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 24 October 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 September [link] and February 2018 [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

Lee, D.H., Torchetti, M.K., Hicks, J., Killian, M.L., Bahl, J., Pantin-Jackwood, M., & Swayne, D.E. Transmission Dynamics of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus A(H5Nx) Clade, North America, 2014-2015. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2018 October; 24(10):1840-1848. [reference]. In this study, the underlying ecologic and epidemiologic processes associated with H5Nx Clade viral spread were investigated by performing a comparative genomic study using 268 full-length genome sequences and data from outbreak investigations. Reassortant H5N2 HPAI circulated in wild birds along the Pacific flyway before several spillover events transmitted the virus to poultry farms. The analysis suggests that more than three separate introductions of H5N2 HPAI into American Midwest states occurred during March–June 2015 and transmission to American Midwest poultry farms from Pacific wild birds occurred around 2 months before detection.

Ndumu, D., Zecchin, B., Fusaro, A., Arinaitwe, E., Erechu, R., Kidega, E., […], & Monne, I. Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 Clade virus in Uganda, 2017. Infection, genetics and Evolution, 2018 October 17. pii: S1567-1348(18)30508-2. [reference]. In early January 2017, outbreaks of H5N8 HPAI were reported for the first time in wild and domestic birds in central-southern Uganda. The whole-genome phylogenetic analyses revealed that the H5N8 viruses recovered from the outbreak in Uganda belonged to genetic clade group-B and clustered with viruses collected in 2017 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in West Africa. Results suggested that infected migratory wild birds might have played a crucial role in the introduction of H5N8 HPAI into this region.

Marchenko, V., Goncharova, N., Susloparov, I., Kolosova, N., Gudymo, A., Svyatchenko, S., […], & Ryzhikov A. Isolation and characterization of H5Nx highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of clade in Russia. Virology, 2018 October 5;525:216-223. [reference]. In 2016-2017, several subtypes of HPAI virus were isolated on the territory of Russia. Phylogenetic analysis of HA of the A(H5N5), A(H5N8), A(H5N2) showed the strains belong to the clade b. All isolated strains were antigenically closely related to candidate vaccine viruses of clade and showed high virulence in mice. Genetic analysis revealed presence of genetic markers potentially related to high virulence in mice in all studied viruses.

Lee, M.S., Jang, E.Y., Cho, J., Kim, K., Lee, C.H., & Yi, H. Development and comparison of two H5N8 influenza A vaccine candidate strains. Archives of Virology, 2018 October 5. [reference]. In this study, the authors generated H5N8 vaccine candidate viruses based on a Korean isolate. An H5N8 vaccine candidate virus containing the bi-basic amino acid cleavage motif showed attenuated pathogenesis in embryonated eggs and exhibited less virulence in the infected mice compared with the wild H5N8 virus containing a multi-basic amino acid cleavage motif. Vaccination with an inactivated preparation of the vaccine candidate virus protected mice from lethal H5N8 viral challenge.


Recommendations for affected countries and those at risk

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