Avian influenza in humans (bird flu)

Find out how we define and monitor cases of avian influenza in humans, and where you can learn more about this disease.

About avian influenza in humans

Avian influenza in humans, also known as bird flu, is a type A influenza virus. It is lethal to poultry and is potentially fatal in humans. Bird flu spreads between both wild and domesticated birds. It has also been passed from birds to humans who are in close contact with poultry or other birds.

Disease type:
Listed human
Vaccination available under NIP:
Notifiable disease:

Prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Water birds such as wild ducks are believed to be the carriers of all avian influenza type A viruses. The viruses are carried inside the birds’ intestines and are distributed into the environment via bird poo. Humans who have close contact with sick birds are at risk of infection with bird flu.

For information about prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, see healthdirect's bird flu page.

Surveillance and reporting

Avian influenza in humans is a nationally notifiable disease.

We monitor cases through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS).

For more on avian influenza in humans in Australia, you can search Communicable Diseases Intelligence

Date last updated:

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