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Sub-Saharan Africa HPAI situation update

14 April 2021, 17:00 hours; Rome

The next issue will be distributed on 12 May 2021. If interested in a previous issue please send an email to EMPRES-Animal Health specifying the intended use of the document.


Information provided herein is current as of the date of issue. Information added or changed since the last Sub-Saharan HPAI situation update appears in red. For poultry cases with unknown onset dates, reporting dates were used instead. FAO compiles information communicated by field officers on the ground in affected countries, from regional offices, and from World Organization 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 in 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: Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1, H5N8 and H5N6 subtypes) with pandemic potential in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa since February 2017.
Confirmed countries (H5): South Africa*
Confirmed countries (H5N1): Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mauritania*, Niger*, Nigeria*, Senegal*, and Togo.
Confirmed countries (H5N6): Nigeria.
Confirmed countries (H5N8): Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa*, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Animal/environmental findings: 22 new events since last update (10 March 2021).
Number of human cases: On 24 March 2021, Nigeria reported seven influenza A human cases in Kano (n=4) and Plateau (n=3) states of which six were confirmed as influenza A(H5). All cases were workers that had contact with infected poultry. All cases were asymptomatic except one who presented catarrh. This is the first report of A(H5) human infections in Africa since 2007 [reference].
* Countries reporting cases in the current wave (since 01 October 2020)

Map 1. Officially reported HPAI outbreaks (H5N1, H5N6 and H5N8 subtypes) in Sub-Saharan Africa, by onset date (1 October 2020 – 14 April 2021)

Officially reported HPAI outbreaks (H5N1, H5N6 and H5N8 subtypes) in Sub-Saharan Africa, by onset date
Click to enlarge. Note:  Map A shows confirmed HPAI events observed since 01 October 2020; Map B shows confirmed HPAI events observed between 01 October 2019 and 30 September 2020. Precise geolocations of 20 H5N1 HPAI outbreaks in Nigeria are not yet publicly available.


 Situation update

Table 1. Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus with events reported in animals since 1 October 2020


Country (administrative regions affected)

Last event observed

Previous event observed

Total #events since 1 October 2020

Species affected during last observed events


South Africa (Gauteng)




Unspecified domestic birds


Mauritania (Trarza)





Niger (Niamey, Tillaberi)




Domestic chickens, and other unspecified domestic birds

Nigeria (Kano, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger)

28/03/2021 (reporting date)



Unspecified domestic birds

Senegal (Thies, Saint Louis)

23/01/2021 23/12/2020


Domestic chickens, and wild Rose Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus)


South Africa (Western Cape)




Unspecified domestic birds

* Data on confirmed H5N1 HPAI outbreaks was retrieved from the latest publicly available Avian Influenza Situation Report of Nigeria Center for Disease Control issued on 28 March 2021. [link]


For a summary of H5N1, H5N6, and H5N8 HPAI events reported in sub-Saharan African countries in previous waves (i.e. before 1 October 2020) please contact EMPRES-Animal Health


 FAO's support to countries

Global level

  • As part of the OIE/FAO Network of Expertise on Animal Influenzas, FAO attended the Zoonotic Influenza Sessions of the WHO Vaccine Composition Meeting held from 2 to 4 March 2021. The report is now available online. [link]
  • On 26 February 2021, the OFFLU issued a statement on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the Russian Federation relating to its detection in poultry workers. [link]
  • The FAO/CMS-led Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds issued a statement on 12 February 2021: H5N8 (and other subtypes) Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds - Winter of 2020/2021 with focus on management of protected areas in the African Eurasian region. [link]
  • WHO developed an online training course entitled Strengthening collaboration between human and animal health sectors for improved health security, freely available at this link. The course covers the Tripartite Zoonosis Guide and associated tools in Module 2.
  • The Tripartite Joint Risk Assessment (JRA) Operational Tool to address zoonotic health threats at the animal-human-environment interface is now available online [link]
  • On 13 November 2020, FAO sent an alert message on the risk of H5Nx HPAI re-introduction to Chief Veterinary Officers and FAO offices of at-risk countries in Africa region.
  • Report of the WHO Vaccine Composition Meeting October 2020 [link]
  • The Tripartite Zoonoses Guide is now available in all UN languages [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” [link]
  • Focus On “Highly Pathogenic H5 Avian Influenza in 2016 and 2017 – Observations and future perspectives” [link]
  • Risk Assessment addressing H5N8 HPAI in Uganda and the risk of spread to neighbouring countries, April 2017. [link]
  • Qualitative Risk Assessment addressing H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza spread in the Central African region [link]
  • HQ (AGAH/EMPRES), ECTAD-Accra and RAF liaising with affected countries and those at risk
  • USD 6.2 million mobilized from FAO internal resources (SFERA and TCP), AfDB, ROK and USAID to support assessments and immediate response

National level

  • Ethiopia:
    • FAO organized a face-to-face meeting on the operationalization of the Tripartite Joint Risk Assessment (JRA) operational tool, 2-6 March 2021, in Adama. The meeting was attended by 25 participants from MoA, MoH, Wildlife, sub-national animal health services, WHO, FAO, and other partners. The participants worked in groups to jointly identify and assess risks associated with HPAI and RVF for generating relevant data, information and recommendations to manage and reduce risks at the animal-human-environment interfaces.
    • NAHDIC received Proficiency Test results on avian influenza and Newcastle disease and scored 97.4% and 100%, respectively for the molecular and the serological tests of both diseases.
  • Côte d’Ivoire:
    • A refresher training was organized for field veterinary agents on sample collection and shipment for priority diseases including HPAI on 12-16 April 2021.
    • Following the notification of HPAI in Senegal, Mauritania, and Nigeria, the focus of FAO ECTAD Côte d’Ivoire is to increase awareness and vigilance in high-risk zones such as wild bird resting sites.
  • FAO SNE together with FAOR Mauritania are supporting Mauritania in managing the mortality event in pelicans due to H5N1 HPAI.
  • FAO ECTAD Niger supported the national government to conduct further investigation, enhance the capacity of the national laboratory and provide direct support through provision of PPEs, disinfectant’s, reagents and consumables.
  • The Tripartite (FAO-OIE-WHO) co-organized with national ministries and One Health Platforms Joint Risk Assessment National Workshop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (19-22 January 2021), addressing HPAI and Ebola, and in Senegal (15-18 December 2020), addressing HPAI and Rift Valley fever.
  • FAO ECTAD Senegal supported the development of the national emergency preparedness and response plan for HPAI and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for biosecurity, sample collection and shipment, and carcass disposal, and supported the national government in testing this plan through a simulation exercise.