Avian Influenza update June 2024

Tuesday, 11 June 2024

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Where to find information regarding Avian Influenza

BirdLife Australia are working with Australian authorities to support monitoring of Avian Influenza in Australia, contributing to the global collaborative monitoring effort.

The best sources of up-to-date information regarding Avian Influenza are:

What is Avian Influenza?

Avian Influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by strains of Influenza A virus. It affects poultry and wild birds and can be spread to mammals including humans.

HPAI H5 clade is a strain of high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) that is being closely monitored by Australian authorities due to the potential risk of spread to Australia. Australia is the only continent that has had no reported outbreaks of this strain.

Outbreaks of this strain have caused extensive losses of poultry and wild birds. Spillover infections in mammals, including sporadic human infections, have also occurred.

What is being done?

Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) chair the National Avian Influenza Wild Bird Surveillance program which monitors for suspected cases in wild bird populations.

Other actions by the Australian Government include quarantine and biosecurity measures that are outlined on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) website.

What is BirdLife Australia doing?

BirdLife Australia sits on the National Avian Influenza Wild Bird Steering Group and the Victorian response team led by Victoria’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) to provide dynamic updates on notable wild bird movements and congregations.

We are continually in communication with the appropriate authorities and strictly adhere to expert guidance and emergency response protocols provided by WHA.

BirdLife Australia is also working with WHA and DAFF, in collaboration with Deakin University and University of NSW on a preparedness tool for health, poultry and conservation practitioners. This data-driven tool will be used to identify threat pathways (into Australia and onward spread), and points of sensitivity (for threatened bird communities and interactions of wild birds and poultry). This preparedness work will use data collected by BirdLife including Birdata and others on the movements and timing of migratory birds and congregations of waterbirds.

What can you do?

Refer to the DAFF and WHA websites for fact sheets, guidance and up to date information.

Familiarise yourself with the visible symptoms. Infected live wild birds may show a wide range of clinical signs described on the DAFF website. These include:

  • incoordination, tremors, swimming in circles
  • twisted necks or other abnormal posture
  • inability to stand or fly
  • diarrhoea
  • difficulty breathing, coughing or sneezing
  • swelling around the head, neck and eyes
  • cloudiness or change in colour of the eyes, and
  • sudden death.

Never handle any birds with suspected Avian Influenza. If you encounter sick or dead wild birds and suspect avian influenza, report them to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.


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