Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

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Last reviewed
May 24, 2022

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) News For 2022

Avian influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by various zoonotic (animal) viruses, says the WHO. Avian influenza (Bird Flu) is a disease caused by influenza type A viruses that occur naturally among birds and domestic poultry. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) avian influenza A virus subtypes (H5, H7, H9) infect humans.

Ancestors of HPAI A(H5N1) viruses first emerged in southern China in 1997. The Asian lineage H5N1 and H7N9 have caused the most human infections, according to the U.S. CDC's FluView dashboard.

The Eurasian H5N1 strain first appeared in North American wild birds in January 2022 and has affected poultry/birds in 38 states and led to the loss of about 38 million birds as of May 17, 2022, reported the CDC. These are the first detections of HPAI A(H5) viruses in the U.S. since 2016. And a Summary of Detection Locations is posted at this link.

Avian Influenza Infection in Humans

On April 28, 2022, the state of Colorado reported the first influenza A (H5) virus infection in a person at a commercial farm in Montrose County. The CDC says the 'case reported by Colorado is the first human detection of any influenza A(H5) virus in the U.S. As of April 23, 2022, over 2,500 people had been monitored for symptoms following exposure to infected birds. Previously, one human infection with HPAI A(H5N1) virus was reported in the U.K. on Jan. 14, 2022.

And the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China notified WHO on May 9, 2022, that a 4-year-old boy from Henan Province was confirmed with an avian influenza A(H3N8) virus. This case appears to be the first reported case of human infection with an avian influenza A(H3N8) virus. In China, as of April 2022, there have been twenty H5N6 cases confirmed in 2022. There have been about 80 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Mainland China since 2014. The public may visit the CHP's pages for more information: the avian influenza webpage, the weekly Avian Influenza Report, global statistics, and affected areas of avian influenza.

Avian Influenza International News For 2022

Since 2003, various countries have reported more than 860 total human infections with HPAI A(H5N1) viruses to the World Health Organization (WHO), with about 53% of those cases resulting in a fatality. Internationally, 54 countries reported an H5N1 outbreak in birds in 2021 and 2022.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported H5N1 outbreaks beginning in December 2021, marking the first identification of HPAI in the Americas since June 2015. The estimated number of birds in flocks impacted by avian influenza segmented by Canadian province is updated weekly on this webpage. During the opening weeks of 2022, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) found a total of 317 new outbreaks in poultry reported by 25 countries and territories.

In early May 2022, two red fox kits in Ontario, Canada, tested positive for HPAI. Those kits were the first reported cases of the current HPAI outbreak in a wild mammal in North America. Red fox infections were also confirmed in Michigan and Minnesota. In Alaska, bald eagles were confirmed with HAPI infections in May 2022.

Avian flu is one of the priorities of the Tripartite Alliance and needs to be tackled under a One Health approach. 

Avian Influenza Cases in China For 2022

On May 18, 2022, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health confirmed it is monitoring a fatal human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Baise City in Guangxi. 

Avian Influenza Pandemic Vaccine For 2022

The U.S. government does have a vaccine for one type of H5N1 bird flu virus in inventory and could distribute it if there was an outbreak that spreads quickly from person to person. The U.S. FDA has authorized 'bird flu' vaccines, such as Seqirus' AUDENZ (Influenza A(H5N1) monovalent vaccine. Moreover, the FDA says annual flu shots do not protect people from bird flu infections.

Avian Influenza HAPI Vaccine Candidates For 2022

In the non-human clinical trials, birds will be vaccinated on farms, then exposed to the HAPI virus in a lab. The goal is to reduce the amount of virus circulating and so protect other poultry species. One vaccine, Volvac Best, is made by Boehringer Ingelheim and is already used in countries outside Europe, including Mexico and Egypt (2015), to immunize chickens against Newcastle disease and H5N1. Ceva created the Vectormune® AI vaccine, the first RNA vaccine to be tested in poultry, specifically for ducks.

Antiviral Influenza Medications For 2022

The U.S. CDC currently recommends antiviral medicines for people who contract bird flu. However, evidence indicates these antivirals are less effective against A(H5N1) and A(H7N9).

Avian Influenza News For 2022

May 23, 2022 - The World Organisation for Animal Health has analyzed the current global situation. The aggregated data show that avian influenza (bird flu) have spread more widely than in previous years

May 18, 2022 - The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the presence of HPAI in a non-commercial backyard flock in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

May 17, 2022 - A bald eagle that recently died in the Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska tested positive for avian influenza. A second dead eagle was also tested for the HAPI virus, and the results are pending. Cedarleaf said on May 18th, a fourth sick eagle was picked up at the Historical Park and euthanized. She suspects that the eagles caught the virus from gulls.

May 12, 2022 - HAPI infections were detected in Red Foxes located in Michigan and Minnesota. 

May 11, 2022 - Science Insider reported 'In southwestern France, researchers will begin to immunize ducks with a newly developed vaccine. And in October 2022, stakeholders will gather at the World Organisation for Animal Health to discuss how to lower international barriers to shipping vaccinated poultry.

May 9, 2022 - The National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China reported the first human infection of the avian influenza A(H3N8) virus.

May 6, 2022 - The USDA and APHIS confirmed the presence of HPAI in non-commercial, backyard flocks in Linn County, Oregon, and in Pacific County, Washington.

May 4, 2022 - The National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed this week the presence of HPAI in a great horned owl at a rehabilitation facility in Wichita County, the first such confirmed case in a wild bird in Texas. This case of HPAI follows an April 2022 detection of HAPI in a commercial pheasant flock located in Erath County.

May 3, 2022 - The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship confirmed a positive case of HPAI in Bremer County, Iowa.

May 2, 2022 - The World Organisation for Animal Health reported that 128 new poultry outbreaks were reported by 12 countries, which include Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

May 1, 2022 - The USDA and APHIS confirmed the presence of HPAI in birds in three additional states: Alaska, Oklahoma, and Vermont.

April 29, 2022 - The U.S. CDC issued Health Advisory #CDCHAN-00464 - Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus: Recommendations for Human Health Investigations and Response.

April 28, 2022 - The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced a test that revealed the presence of the influenza A (H5) virus in a single nasal specimen from a person working on a farm with infected poultry. The U.S. CDC confirmed the result on April 27, 2022. Because the person was in close contact with infected poultry, the HAPI virus may have been present in the person's nose without causing infection. 

April 27, 2022 - To help ensure APHIS can continue to provide critical rapid response activities, U.S> Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack approved the transfer of nearly $263 million from the Commodity Credit Corporation to APHIS, directly supporting response efforts. The funding allows APHIS to continue its critical work with state and local partners to quickly identify and address cases of HPAI in the U.S.

April 26, 2022 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has completed a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA), "Emergency Response for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreaks in Seven States," and a Draft Decision and Finding of No Significant Impact for the EA.

April 20, 2022 - 'In areas with HPAI transmission in any avian species, consider pausing the use of bird feeders and baths for the next couple of months until the rate of virus transmission in wild birds dramatically decreases. This action will help protect those beautiful feathered creatures that visit your yard, but it will also help all wild bird species that are already having it hard this spring because of HPAI,' from The Raptor Center's Executive Director and Veterinary Epidemiologist, Dr. Victoria Hall, DVM, MS, DACVPM.

April 20, 2022 - The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health in Hong Kong confirmed the 13 H5N6 cases for 2022.

April 20, 2022 - The Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development advises the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative has confirmed the presence of avian influenza in two different wild bird samples in Manitoba.

April 16, 2022 - The USDA Animal and APHIS confirmed the presence of HPAI in Idaho, Pennsylvania, Utah.

April 9, 2022 - The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the presence of HPAI in a non-commercial backyard flock (poultry) in Pitkin County, Colorado, and on April 8, 2022, in two flocks in Montana – a non-commercial backyard flocks (poultry) in Cascade County, and Judith Basin County.

April 6, 2022 - Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection announced a man had contact with poultry before he contracted AI. The man's illness marks China's 11th H5N6 case of the year. On April 9, 2022, the 12th case was confirmed.

April 3, 2022 - The Texas Animal Health Commission confirmed the presence of HPAI in a commercial pheasant flock in Erath County, Texas.

March 30, 2022 - The USDA and U.S. APHIS confirmed the presence of HPAI in a non-commercial, mixed-species backyard flock (non-poultry) in Berkshire County, MA; a non-commercial, mixed-species backyard flock (non-poultry) in Johnson County, WYO; a commercial poultry flock in Johnston County, NC; a non-commercial, backyard chicken flock (non-poultry) in Franklin County, OH; and a non-commercial, backyard chicken flock (poultry) in Kidder County, ND.

March 28, 2022 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the presence of HAPI H5N1 in a poultry flock in the Township of Zorra, Ontario. There are regular reports of HPAI in wild birds across North America, including Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and British Columbia. Previously, on March 21, 2022, Ontario's agriculture ministry reported that a red-tailed hawk suffering from neurologic symptoms tested positive for H5N1.

March 26, 2022 - The USDA and APHIS confirmed the presence of HPAI in two flocks in Minnesota; a commercial turkey flock in Meeker County and a backyard mixed-species flock (non-poultry) in Mower County.

March 25, 2022 - The USDA recorded numerous avian influenza cases in five states last week. The largest outbreak was in Nebraska, where officials indicated 570,000 broiler chickens were depopulated, reported the AP.

March 22, 2022 - Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection update VOLUME 18, NUMBER 12 - a young girl from Anhui province was recently confirmed with H9N2 avian flu infection.

March 21, 2022 - The USDA data dashboard indicates recent avian flu detections: in South Dakota, Maine, Iowa (5,347,511), Delaware, and Kansas. Since January 2022, about 9.5 million chickens and turkeys have been depopulated.

March 18, 2022 - The USDA has confirmed 385 positive wild bird detections and 38 appearances in poultry flocks involving the Eurasian H5N1 strain in 2022.

March 15, 2022 - Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection investigation revealed that a woman who had contact with domestic poultry got sick. China's number of H5N6 cases since 2014 has reached 74, inclusive of 10 cases in 2022. H5N6 is known to circulate in Asian countries, but only China and Laos have reported human cases.

March 14, 2022 - According to various reporting, there are now 14 states that have reported avian influenza cases in birds during 2022. Over the past week, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and Illinois.

March 8, 2022 - The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health reported two human fatalities related to avian influenza A(H5N6) infections in the Mainland.

March 6, 2022 - During the past week, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in both non-commercial backyard flocks and commercial farms in Connecticut, Iowa, Missouri, Maryland, and South Dakota

February 28, 2022 - The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health confirmed it is closely monitoring four human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland. Updated on Mar. 1, 2022 - Weekly Report: VOLUME 18, NUMBER 09.

February 27, 2022 - The Alert Response Level under the China Government's Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic was activated.

February 24, 2022 - The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and APHIS confirmed the presence of HPAI in a non-commercial backyard flock (non-poultry) in Kalamazoo County, Michigan.

February 23, 2022 - Indian health official issued updated #6 regarding the 5th avian flu farm outbreak. The total number of commercial turkeys affected in 2022 is 154,781

February 23, 2022 - The USDA and APHIS confirmed the presence of HPAI in a commercial poultry flock in New Castle County, Delaware.

February 22, 2022 - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has confirmed highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) strain cases: H5 in a lesser scaup, black vultures, and other avian species. The FWC is currently investigating bird mortalities in Brevard, Indian River, and Volusia counties believed to be caused by HPAI. This strain has been documented in the U.S. since 2021 and was detected in hunter-harvested blue-winged teal in Palm Beach County in January 2022.

February 19, 2022 - The USDA and APHIS confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a non-commercial backyard flock (non-poultry) in Suffolk County, New York.

February 19, 2022 - Indiana confirmed its 4th fourth turkey farm (Greene2) diagnosed with avian influenza. Depopulation efforts are underway on the premises, which includes 15,200 birds. 

February 18, 2022 - The USDA reported 108 additional highly pathogenic H5 detections from wild bird surveillance on the East Coast of the U.S., including the initial detections in Connecticut and Georgia. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has now reported 247 detections in waterfowl.

February 17, 2022 - The Indiana State Board of Animal Health confirmed a third highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza outbreak at a turkey farm in Greene County. In total, about 103 thousand birds are being depopulated.  

February 16, 2022 - According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, India reported a highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreak in poultry, it's first since 2020.

February 15, 2022 - The Indiana Board of Animal Health confirmed preliminary testing identified H5 avian flu at a second turkey farm in Dubois County, not far from where an H5N1 outbreak was recently confirmed. The total number of birds affected in Indiana has reached 55,473.

February 15, 2022 - The Hong Kong-based Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health announced it is closely monitoring two human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland, both involving people who had been exposed to poultry before they got sick.

February 14, 2022 - The U.K. published the Updated Outbreak Assessment #14 Highly pathogenic avian influenza in the U.K. and Europe.

February 14, 2022 - The WSJ reported that the USDA had identified deadly bird flu in U.S. flocks, including turkeys, which put the poultry industry on high alert.

February 11, 2022 - The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced the expansion of wild bird surveillance for avian influenza to the Mississippi and Central Flyways. 

February 9, 2022 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspective Service announced the first detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses in a U.S. commercial turkey flock.

February 7, 2022 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported (87) more highly pathogenic H5 or H5N1 avian flu detections in hunter-harvested birds on the East Coast of the U.S.

January 29, 2022 - Denmark's Statens Serum Institut detected a case of influenza in a citizen with a virus variant that probably originates from swine who worked at a Danish pig slaughterhouse. However, all indications are that this is a single case of infection. Therefore, it is not estimated that there is a risk of infection among people.

January 20, 2022 - The French Ministry of Agriculture and Food confirmed a preventive depopulation of poultry and waterfowl in the southwest, characterized by numerous outbreaks. The first outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in the South West was confirmed on December 16, 2021, on a duck farm in Gers. As of January 18, 2021, 291 outbreaks had been confirmed in the South West, compared to 216 on the same date this year.

January 13, 2022 - Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection announced it is monitoring six human avian influenza A(H5N6) cases in the China Mainland.