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Avian influenza in Europe: updates

Avian influenza in Italy: updates

Posted: 16 September 2015 Last update: 12 July 2018

Here you can find maps and updates of the outbreaks of avian influenza in Italy.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Italy

2016/2018 - H5N5, H5N82016 - H7N72014/2015 - H5N8, H5N12013 - H7N7

2016/2018 – H5N5, H5N8

  • Outbreaks | PDF (last update: 23/03/2018)
  • Maps | PDF (last update: 13/03/20187)


Starting from 28 December 2016, Italy was involved in the H5 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) epidemic that spread across Europe in 2016/17.

During this period, passive surveillance activities on wild bird population, provided for by the national program, allowed detecting 14 outbreaks of HPAI virus. Among the 16 birds directly involved, 15 resulted positive for subtype H5N8 (8 mute swans, 1 rock pigeon, 1 greylag goose, 1 mallard, 1 Eurasian wigeon, 1 common kestrel, 1 common shelduck and a grey heron) and two tested positive for subtype H5N5 (gadwall and Eurasian wigeon). For what concerns the poultry sector, eighty-three outbreaks were confirmed, affecting both rural and industrial sectors, and occurred in two distinct epidemic waves. All notified cases were related to HPAI viruses subtype H5N8.

During the first wave, 16 holdings located in the North-east tested positive for HPAI, and 357,549 birds were culled because directly involved in the outbreaks. The large majority of affected farms were close to wetlands where substantial populations of wild waterfowl were reported. Contact tracking activities did not identify links between cases, and sequenced viruses revealed considerable nucleotide differences. Point source introductions from wild reservoirs are therefore considered as the most likely origin of infection.

During the second epidemic wave, sixty-seven farms in the densely populated poultry areas (DPPA) were affected, with sparse incursions into western and central Italy. 2,416,107 birds were culled because directly involved in the outbreaks. Up to late September, epidemiological and genetic characteristics were comparable to the outbreaks reported in the first wave. Since October, a larger number of secondary cases was observed, most of all in Brescia and Cremona provinces. At-risk contacts were detected among related outbreaks, and phylogenetic analyses revealed 99-100% similarity between viruses isolated in those premises. Sharing of personnel and vehicles and neighborhood spread between the outbreaks have been identified as the more likely sources of infection.

The last HPAI outbreak of the year 2017 was confirmed in a fattening turkey farm in Ravenna province on 11 December. The farm is located in a scarcely populated poultry area, which is characterised by the presence of large wetlands. Considering the notified presence of waterfowls near the infected farm and that no epidemiological links with previous outbreaks have been detected, contact with the wild reservoir has been identified as the more likely source of introduction.

In March 2018, three new HPAI H5N8 outbreaks had been identified in Lombardy region. Phylogenetic analyses revealed high similarity with the viruses isolated in Brescia province last autumn.


March 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016

2016 – H7N7

  • Outbreaks | PDF (last update: 10/06/2016)
  • Map | PDF (last update: 14/06/2016)

June 2016
May 2016

2014/2015 – H5N8, H5N1

  • Map | PDF (last update: 16/12/2014)
  • Restriction zones | PDF (last update: 17/12/2014)

16/12/2014 – On 15 December, the national Reference Centre for avian influenza and Newcastle disease of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie confirmed the presence of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza in a meat-producing turkey farm in the municipality of Porto Viro in the province of Rovigo.
The subtype H5N8 is an avian influenza virus that is highly pathogenic for domestic poultry, as turkeys and chickens. Despite being related, the H5N8 virus has a different combination of genes from the H5N1 virus, enabling it to be distinguished from the latter. Between 2013 and 2014, the H5N8 virus was identified as the cause of infection in domestic and wild birds in several western Asian countries, as South Korea, China and Japan, but no cases had been identified outside of this area until last November. Between November and December 2014, the virus was sporadically detected for the first time in domestic and wild birds in Northern Europe (Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). Its arrival in Europe is thought to be linked to migrations of wild birds. To date, there have been no reports of the H5N8 virus being transmitted to humans.
The Veneto regional government has adopted every measure laid down by current legislation to contain the disease, including the definition of the related restriction zones.

2013 – H7N7

  • Outbreaks | PDF (last update: 22/10/2013)
  • Map | PDF (last update: 22/10/2013)
  • Restriction zones | PDF (last update: 22/10/2013)

Italian Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI)



  • Outbreaks in Italy 2018 | PDF (last update: 29/03/2018)
  • Maps of the outbreaks in Italy 2018 | PDF (last update: 28/03/2018)

March 2018
February 2018


  • Outbreaks in Italy 2017 | PDF (last update: 02/01/2018)
  • Maps of the outbreaks in Italy 2017 | PDF (last update: 21/12/2017)

December 2017
November 2017


  • Outbreaks in Italy 2016 | PDF (last update: 09/01/2016)
  • Maps of the outbreaks in Italy 2016 | PDF (last update: 05/12/2016)

December 2016
November 2016
April 2016


  • Outbreaks in Italy 2015 | PDF (last update: 11/04/2016)
  • Maps of the outbreaks in Italy 2015 | PDF (last update: 24/12/2015)

December 2015
November 2015


  • Outbreaks in Italy 2014 | PDF (last update: 31/03/2014)
  • Maps of the outbreaks in Italy 2014 | PDF (last update: 16/09/2014)


  • Outbreaks in Italy 2013 | PDF (last update: 08/01/2014)
  • Maps of the outbreaks in Italy 2013 | PDF (last update: 08/01/2014)

Further information

Go to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) website:

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