Avian influenza

Released: January 28, 2019

Current situation

Sporadic human cases of avian influenza have been reported in China.

Avian influenza cases generally follow a seasonal pattern. Most cases are reported in the colder months (between October and May), with numbers peaking between December and early January.

The risk to travellers is extremely low.

About avian influenza

Avian influenza is a viral infection caused by influenza A viruses that can spread easily and quickly among birds. There are several types of avian influenza viruses, and most rarely infect humans. There are three subtypes of avian influenza A viruses that are known to infect people (H5, H7 and H9 viruses). Among these, H5N1 and H7N9 have caused the majority of infections in people.

Illnesses in humans from avian influenza A virus infections have ranged in severity from no symptoms to severe and fatal disease.

Although rare, avian influenza can be spread to humans through:


Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

During your trip:

Wash your hands often:

Practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette:

Monitor your health:

If you develop symptoms of avian influenza when you are travelling or after you return, see a health care professional. Tell them:

Registration of Canadians Abroad

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