For health professionals: Avian influenza (H5N1)

Get detailed information on avian influenza (H5N1), its management, treatment and surveillance.

On this page:

What health professionals need to know about avian influenza (H5N1)

There is much information on the transmission, control and treatment of avian influenza (H5N1).

Health professionals are reminded to refer to their provincial or territorial Ministry of Health for specific recommendations on surveillance and public health.


Public health authorities in Canada are advised to continue vigilance for the recognition, reporting and prompt investigation of patients with SARI or severe influenza-like illness (ILI).

Front-line health care providers in hospitals should be advised to appropriately:

  • query travel
  • implement best practices for triage, infection control and patient management as indicated
  • consult your local public health unit for assistance in SARI/severe ILI patients who have:
    • travelled recently
    • have come into contact with travellers to an affected area with confirmed H5N1 activity in humans or domestic poultry
  • consult your local public health unit for guidance on appropriate testing, recommended procedures and prioritization for H5N1 investigation if significant exposure history has been established, which may include:
    • close contact (within 2 metres) with a confirmed human case of H5N1
    • close contact with sick or dead domestic poultry or wild birds


For detailed background and recommendations on enhanced SARI surveillance in hospitals, please consult your local, provincial or territorial health authorities.

World Health Organization

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir or zamanavir can reduce the duration of illness and improve the prospect of survival if administered within 48 hours of illness onset.

The following resources provide additional information on the clinical management of human infection with avian influenza (H5N1) virus:

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: