Update on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Kia ora

We have a brief update to share with you about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu.

Although New Zealand has never had a case of HPAI and the risk of it arriving here right now is low, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is closely monitoring international disease spread.

The current strain of HPAI A(H5N1) circulating internationally can spread rapidly across long distances by migratory birds. You may have seen recent news about HPAI spreading into South Georgia. It has caused significant losses in wild bird populations, including endangered species. HPAI has also repeatedly crossed over into domestic and commercial poultry flocks, and can also infect mammalian species including seals and humans. It is important for veterinarians to always practice good hygiene and biosecurity measures when working with wildlife.

If HPAI is detected in New Zealand or its territories, Biosecurity New Zealand will coordinate a response as the lead agency. International experience has shown that a One Health approach to the current strain of HPAI is essential. MPI, the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Health are collaborating to prepare for any detection of HPAI in New Zealand.

For information about what to do if you suspect HPAI and its clinical signs, visit https://www.mpi.govt.nz/biosecurity/pests-and-diseases-not-in-new-zealand/animal-diseases-not-in-nz/high-pathogenicity-avian-influenza-and-the-risk-to-nz/

You can also report any suspected cases of HPAI to MPI’s Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline by calling 0800 80 99 66.