Bird Flu Outbreaks March 2023

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Last reviewed
March 20, 2023
Content Overview
Avian influenza, bird flu, outbreaks have occurred in various countries in March 2023. A bird flu vaccine has been U.S. FDA approved.

Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) Outbreaks March 2023

Bird Flu (Avian influenza) is a disease caused by influenza type A viruses that occur naturally among birds and domestic poultry. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HAPI) viruses carrying the H1N1, H2N2, and H3N2 combinations were responsible for the Spanish flu of 1918, the Asian flu in 1957, and the Hong Kong flu in 1968, respectively. HAPI virus subtypes (H5, H7, H9) A(H5N1) first emerged in southern China in 1997 and spread rapidly beginning in early 2022.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Technical Report issued on March 17, 2023, confirmed the current risk to the public from HPAI A(H5N1) viruses remains low. However, because of the potential for influenza viruses to rapidly evolve and the wide global prevalence of HPAI A(H5N1) viruses in wild birds and poultry outbreaks, continued sporadic human infections are anticipated. To date, more than 6,300 people in 52 jurisdictions have been monitored since 2022, and only one human case has been identified.

According to the U.S. CDC FluView dashboard, 54 countries reported bird flu outbreaks to the World Health Organization (WHO) from 2021 through early March 17, 2023.

Bird Flu in the USA 2023

In the U.S., the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) stated the Eurasian (H5 clade appeared in North America in January 2022. Since then, APHIS has reported over 6,000 H5N1 detections in wild birds, and 47 states (14 states within 30 days) have been impacted, leading to the loss of over 58.6 million birds as of March 16, 2023

The U.S. CDC published Bird Flu Summary on March 1, 2023, and of HAPI detection locations is posted at this link. On February 15, 2023, the CDC posted: Ask the Experts: HAPI A(H5N1) Viruses. And the WHO published an updated FAQ.

Human Bird Flu 2023

Globally, seven human influenza A H5N1 infections have been recently reported in EcuadorChina, Vietnam, the U.K.Spain (2), and Colorado during 2022-2023.

In 2023, Cambodia confirmed (2) cases of H5 clade, which have circulated in Cambodia among birds/poultry for many years. And on March 3, 2023, Indonesia's Minister of Health Budi revealed cases of Bird Flu that spread from birds to humans in South Kalimantan.

The U.S. CDC monitors people who have been exposed to infected birds and poultry for 10 days after exposure. As of February 25, 2023, public health departments have monitored more than 6,300 people in more than 50 jurisdictions who were exposed to birds/poultry infected with the H5N1 virus. Of these, more than 160 people showed symptoms and subsequently were tested for novel influenza A viruses. The H5N1 virus genetic material has been only detected in a respiratory specimen from one person in Colorado in 2022.

Zoonotic influenza (Bird flu) infections in humans cause diseases from conjunctivitis or mild, flu-like symptoms to severe, acute respiratory illness or even death, depending on factors related to the virus-causing infection and the infected host, says the WHO. The Asian lineage H5N1 and H5N6 have caused the most human infections. 

As of February 2, 2023, the WHO reported a total of 240 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus had been reported from four countries within the Western Pacific Region since January 2003. Of these cases, 135 were fatal, resulting in a case fatality rate (CFR) of 56%. As of 2022, the WHO posted the cumulative number of confirmed human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) reported (2003-2022).

Available epidemiological and virological evidence currently suggests that influenza A(H5) viruses have not acquired the ability for sustained transmission among humans. Thus the likelihood of human-to-human spread is low, says the WHO.

The U.S. CDC recently confirmed humans infected with avian influenza viruses are associated with exposure to infected live or dead poultry or contaminated environments. Past examples of Possible Limited, Non-Sustained Person-to-Person Spread of Bird Flu are listed here by the CDC.

Human Bird Flu U.S.

On April 28, 2022, the state of Colorado reported the first influenza A (H5) virus infection in Montrose County. The CDC says this 'Colorado patient is the first human detection of any influenza A(H5) virus in the U.S. since 2016. In addition, the CDC publishes: Past Reported Global Human Cases with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) (HPAI H5N1) by Country, 1997-2022.

As of February 10, 2023, there is one U.S. FDA-approved bird flu vaccine. And the CDC says seasonal flu vaccination will not prevent infection with bird flu viruses.

Human Bird Flu China 2023

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health closely monitors human cases of avian influenza in the Mainland and again urges the public to maintain strict personal, food, and environmental hygiene locally and during travel. The CHP reported on March 1, 2023, a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland (Qingyuan, Guangdong). Local media reported a woman in Jiangsu Province was confirmed to be infected with H5N1 in March 2023.

The CHP Avian Influenza report VOLUME 19, NUMBER 01, was posted on January 3, 2023. Furthermore, on January 5, 2023, the Alert Response Level under the CHP's Government Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic (2014) was activated. The public may visit the CHP's weekly Avian Influenza Report, global statistics, and affected areas of avian influenza for updated news.

From 2014 to January 2023, 54 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) and 83 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by China health authorities.

Human Bird Flu India 2023

Thiruvananthapuram's Health Minister confirmed a bird flu infection in Trivandrum Azhur Gram Panchayat in southern India in January 2023.

Human Bird Flu Vietnam

On October 17, 2022, the Vietnam Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology reported positive results for influenza A(H5) from a specimen of a 5-year-old female patient in Phu Tho. From 2003, Vietban recorded 128 cases of influenza A(H5) infection.

Human Bird Flu Ukraine 2023

On March 19, 2023, local media reported an outbreak of bird flu that occurred at a poultry farm in the village of Velyka Oleksandrivka in the Kherson region of Ukraine. Eighteen people have been hospitalized, two of whom have died. Reuters reported previous bird flu cases in January 2023.

Bird Flu Cambodia 2023

On March 3, 2023, the CDC issued an update providing results of a preliminary assessment of the H5N1 viruses identified in two human infections detected in Cambodia in 2023 based on their genetic sequences and giving an update on the epidemiological investigation. On February 21, 2023, local media reported an 11-year-old girl from southeast Cambodia Prey Veng province had died of H5N1 human avian influenza. According to the Cambodian Ministry of Health, the girl is the first person to die of H5N1 since 2014. On February 26, 2023, this case was determined to be Clade avian influenza virus, which has been endemic in Southeast Asia (Cambodia) for about 10 years and is not related to the current Eurasian H5N1 strain of HAPI. @PasteurCambodia is collaborating with Cambodian authorities surrounding these cases, and no implications of human-to-human transmission have been found. The Ministry of Health and the WHO reported bird flu has been endemic in Cambodia since 2005, with a total of 57 infections and 38 deaths.

Bird Flu Caribbean 

Prensa Latina reported on February 7, 2023, Cuba's National Center for Animal Health confirmed the presence of bird flu in wild birds at the Havana Zoological Garden in Plaza de la Revolucion municipality. On November 28, 2022, it confirmed its initial HAPI outbreak.

Bird Flu Central America

On January 18, 2023, the WHO stated that the Ecuador case was the first human infection caused by the avian influenza A(H5) virus in Latin America and the Caribbean. As of February 2023, countries such as Belize, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama have recently confirmed HAPI cases.

Bird Flu Europe 2023

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported Between December 2022 and March 2023, HPAI A(H5N1) virus, clade, was reported in Europe in domestic (522) and wild (1,138) birds over 24 countries, and in sea birds, mainly in gull species and particularly in black-headed gulls (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy). The close genetic relationship among viruses collected from black-headed gulls suggests a southward spread of the virus. Moreover, the genetic analyses indicate that the virus persisted in Europe in residential wild birds during and after the summer months. 

Bird Flu Japan

On January 27, 2023, seven new outbreaks of H5N1 were reported in Japan; Otsu-City 1, Sousa-City1, Sera-Town 5, and Maebashi-city 2. There were a total of 49 cases and 34 deaths in domestic birds, and 716,416 birds were culled.

Bird Flu South America

As of February 16, 2023, birds infected with HAPI were confirmed in Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, and Uruguay. And the PAHO issued an Epidemiological Alert in response to the increased detection of avian influenza outbreaks in birds in ten countries in the Region of the Americas.  

Bird Flu Spain

On November 4, 2022, public health authorities in Spain reported the detection of influenza A(H5N1) in two poultry workers on a single farm. However, no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the influenza A(H5N1) virus in this event has been identified to date.

Spanish researchers reported in Eurosurveillance on January 19, 2023, the first known HAPI A(H5N1) outbreak in farmed mink in the Galicia region. The new variant puts bird flu in "uncharted territory," says Wendy Puryear, a virologist at Tufts University in Massachusetts, on January 24, 2023.

Bird Flu United Kingdom

The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published new Guidance (fourth update) regarding the risk assessment of avian influenza A(H5N1) on January 31, 2023. The risk of influenza A(H5N1) infection in UK residents within the UK is very low. An Avian influenza Prevention Zone was declared by the U.K. on October 17, 2022, making it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.

Bird Flu in Mammals 2023

As of March 20, 2023, global surveillance data does not suggest widespread mammalian adaptation of the HAPI virus (low to moderate confidence), says the U.S. CDC. Breaking news is posted at

Bird Flu Vaccines

Avian influenza (bird flu) vaccines are listed on this web page.

Bird Flu News 2023

February 3, 2023 - The WHO published Avian Influenza Weekly Update Number 881.

January 27, 2023 - The journal Molecular Biology and Evolution published a study suggesting that it acts as both a source and a link in the global HPAI virus transmission network.

January 6, 2023 - The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health confirmed a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland.

December 21, 2022 - The WHO published an assessment of risk associated with recent influenza A(H5N1) clade viruses.

December 7, 2022 - In late November, HAPI outbreaks were recorded in Hamlin County, 50,000, and Charles Mix County, 75,100. On Nov. 29, a commercial flock of 32,900 turkeys in Spink County had an outbreak, and a commercial flock of 71,600 turkeys in Hanson County had an outbreak.