Update for veterinarians about HPAI

8 May 2024

picture of a duck in water

Although New Zealand has never had a case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), and the risk of it arriving here right now is low, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has strong surveillance systems in place to detect it and is closely monitoring international disease spread.

Close attention is currently being paid to disease spread in the Ross Sea region in Antarctica and recent reports of cases in the United States. HPAI can affect wild bird species and biodiversity, commercial poultry production, small-scale poultry flocks and birds, and waterfowl. It can also spread from birds to mammals, with a very small number of human cases recorded. 

If HPAI ever arrives in New Zealand, veterinarians will play an important role in providing information to animal owners and the wider community. Veterinarians must continue to use PPE when working with sick or dying birds and always practice good hygiene and biosecurity measures when working with wildlife. Strict biosecurity measures are also required when moving between farms. 

Information about what to do if you suspect HPAI can be found here.  

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