Avian influenza in Victoria

A number of poultry farms in Victoria are currently affected by avian influenza. These outbreaks have been caused by two different strains of the virus. The risk of these strain spreading to humans is regarded as very low.

Avian influenza viruses do not usually infect people but in rare circumstances human infection can occur. There are no human cases linked to the poultry farms in Victoria.

However, Australia’s first case of avian influenza (caused by influenza A H5N1) was recently reported in Victoria.

The case was in a child who returned to Australia from overseas in March 2024 and developed a severe infection. The child has since made a full recovery.

For more information on the local farm outbreaks visit the Agriculture Victoria website. For more information on the recent human case please see the Chief Health Officer Advisory issued on 22 May 2024.


While the flu vaccine does not protect against avian influenza, it can help prevent highly pathogenic avian influenza mixing with seasonal influenza, which can lead to new mutated viruses that could spread rapidly.

This highlights the importance of seasonal influenza vaccination, particularly for poultry workers and those travelling to areas with outbreaks, to reduce the risk of new human pandemic viruses emerging.

How to protect yourself

 Get vaccinated against seasonal influenza.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling birds and undercooked poultry products.
  • Ensure that poultry and egg products are cooked thoroughly before eating.
  • Use the Smartraveller website before you travel to research your destination and keep up to date on the latest travel advice.
  • When travelling, avoid poultry farms and live bird “wet” markets and avoid contact with wild or domesticated birds.

Information for health professionals

 Health professionals should consider the possibility of avian influenza infection in people presenting with compatible symptoms and epidemiological risk factors. This might include travel to affected areas such as South East Asia, South America or the United States or exposure to implicated farms in Victoria.

If you suspect avian influenza please notify your local public health unit immediately on suspicion on 1300 651 160.

More information

Influenza – Better Health Channel