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Avian Influenza

Scientific Name

Orthomyxoviridae, Influenza Type A (CABI)

Common Name

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), fowl plague

Native To

First noted in Italy in 1878 (CABI)

Date of U.S. Introduction


Means of Introduction

Projected to arrive in the U.S. in migratory birds or through poultry imports (Global Invasive Species Database 2005)


Infects poultry, waterfowl, and occasionally mammals (including humans) (CABI)

Current U.S. Distribution

Not currently established in the U.S.

Avian influenza

Avian influenza, ARS scientists are working to improve vaccines and technology to help control bird flu


Photo by Stephen Ausmus; USDA, ARS Image Gallery

Find more images


  • USDA Provides Additional $502 Million For Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – Stands Ready to Combat Additional Detections

    • Jun 22, 2023
    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $502 million under the Animal Health Protection Act to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to prepare for potential additional detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the United States.

      USDA continues to successfully combat HPAI in the United States. In May 2022, there were a total of 18 commercial poultry HPAI detections. In May 2023, there were 0 commercial poultry detections, a decrease of 100% from the previous year. Additionally, there has not been a case of HPAI in commercial poultry since April 19, 2023 or in backyard poultry since May 18, 2023.

  • Flying to the Rescue

    • Dec 12, 2023
    • USDA. ARS. Tellus.

    • ARS vaccine helps to defend rare bird from avian influenza. Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) recently joined other federal agencies to take emergency action to protect one of America’s endangered species, the California condor.

  • USDA Increases Efforts to Protect U.S. Poultry and Expands Wild Bird Surveillance for Avian Influenza

    • Feb 11, 2022
    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing the expansion of wild bird surveillance for avian influenza to include the Mississippi and Central Flyways. This expansion also enlarged the existing surveillance program in the Atlantic and Pacific Flyways, which is in place to conduct surveillance of birds that may interact with wild birds from Europe and Asia. APHIS confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in several states in the Atlantic Flyway in January as well as in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana on February 8, and this additional surveillance will increase our capability to track the disease throughout the United States.

      Anyone involved with poultry should review their biosecurity plan and enhance their biosecurity practices to ensure the health of their birds. APHIS has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit available on the Defend the Flock Resource Center. In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through USDA's toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at

      See also: 2022-2023 Detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza for related news of the Eurasian H5 HPAI in the U.S.

  • Avian Influenza Geonarrative

    • Sep 2022
    • DOI. United States Geological Survey.

    • The USGS Ecosystems Mission Area provides science to understand wildlife diseases, including avian influenza (AI). Avian influenza viruses occur naturally in wild birds such as ducks, geese, swans, and gulls. These viruses generally do not cause illness in wild birds but they can be highly pathogenic and cause illness and death in poultry and wildlife. Learn more with this geonarrative.

      See also: Geonarratives for all USGS geonarrative / story map resources

  • First Study to Track a Wild Bird Known to Have Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

    • Oct 26, 2022
    • DOI. United States Geological Survey.

    • For the first time, scientists have tracked the movement of a wild bird known to be infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza in North America. The new research, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, can help improve estimates of when and where the virus could spread in the environment and to other birds.

  • New Dashboard Shows Broad View of Avian Influenza Sampling Results in Wild Birds

    • Oct 27, 2022
    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has developed a publicly available dashboard that displays the results from nation-wide avian influenza virus (AIV) monitoring in wild bird populations. The dashboard may be found at

      Data presented in the dashboard can identify increased AIV risk and can provide information to poultry producers, wildlife managers, and members of the public on AIV activity in their area.

  • Secretary Vilsack Approves Additional Funds to Support Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response

    • May 27, 2022
    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) continues its efforts to respond to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the United States. To date, the virus has been confirmed in 35 states, affecting more than 37.9 million domestic birds. APHIS’ response efforts include working closely with animal health officials in affected states to quickly identify and address new cases of HPAI. To help ensure APHIS can continue to provide critical rapid response activities, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack approved the transfer of $400 million from the Commodity Credit Corporation to APHIS to directly support the response efforts.

      While these response efforts are vital to ending the outbreak, there are also actions bird owners can take to help stop the spread of this virus. APHIS has a variety of biosecurity resources available along with more information for bird owners.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

  • Avian Health - Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • Includes current HPAI and previous findings and outbreaks.

  • Avian Influenza - Current Global Distribution

    • UN. World Health Organization.

    • Select "avian influenza" from topic list; also provides maps by geographic area.

  • Avian Influenza Current Situation Summary

    • DHHS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    • Provides situation summaries by type (wild birds, poultry, humans) and location.

  • Distribution of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in North America, 2021/2022

    • DOI. USGS. National Wildlife Health Center.

    • The first 2021/2022 detection of Eurasian strain (EA) highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in North America occurred in December 2021 in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Subsequently, HPAI EA H5 and EA H5N1 viruses have been confirmed in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry facilities in both Canada and the United States. This HPAI distribution map will be updated weekly or as frequently as documented changes in distribution are available.

  • Wild Bird Avian Influenza Surveillance

    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • This page displays results from samples collected as part of the USDA, Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Disease Program's wild bird surveillance program. Sample collection from other entities (State agencies, Dept of Interior, private wildlife facilities) are not included.
      See also: APHIS Interactive Maps to explore plant and animal health or wildlife damage management data and an index of APHIS Maps

Federally Regulated


Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Federal Government
  • Protect Your Poultry From Avian Influenza [PDF, 977 KB]

    • Oct 2019
    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • Avian influenza, or "bird flu," is a respiratory disease of birds caused by influenza A viruses. These viruses can infect domestic poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese) and are found naturally in wild birds (such as ducks, gulls, and shorebirds). Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) occurs naturally in wild birds and can spread to domestic birds. In most cases, it causes few or no outward signs of infection. LPAI viruses are common in the United States and around the world. High pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is extremely infectious, often fatal to domestic poultry, and can spread rapidly from flock to flock. If HPAI is found in the United States, we must eradicate it to protect our country’s flocks and to keep trade flowing.

  • Avian Health - Avian Influenza Disease

    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

  • Avian Influenza

  • Avian Influenza

    • U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • Avian Influenza

    • USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

    • DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • Information on Avian Influenza

    • DHHS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Safety and Health Topics - Avian Influenza

    • United States Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

International Government
State and Local Government