Low Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (LPAI)

​​Avian influenza is a highly contagious, viral respiratory disease of birds.

All commercial, domestic, and wild bird species can be infected by avian influenza.  

There are many subtypes or strains of avian influenza. Strains known as low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI), can cause a range of symptoms from none to mild flu-like symptoms in wild birds, and mild symptoms in domestic poultry. 

Avian influenza can spread quickly by direct, bird-to-bird contact. It can also spread indirectly through birds interacting with contaminated material like:  

  • drinking water and food 

  • manure 

  • egg crates

  • bedding 

  • farming materials and equipment  

Signs and symptoms ​

​The clinical signs of avian influenza can look similar to other poultry diseases. The signs include:  

  • breathing difficulties 

  • watery eyes 

  • bluish colouring in the comb, wattle or legs 

  • swelling of the head 

  • diarrhoea 

  • nervous signs 

  • rapid drop in water/feed intake and egg production 

What to do ​

Report unusual findings in wild or domestic birds, such as sudden or large numbers of deaths, to:  

  • your local vet 

  • the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 1800 675 888 

All bird owners need to be alert for signs of disease, especially where multiple deaths occur in poultry, or many birds are sick. 

Owners of backyard poultry or free-range poultry should be especially cautious. The sickness may be one of several poultry diseases including avian influenza or newcastle disease. Both are highly contagious.  

If it is a contagious disease, early reporting is essential to stop it spreading. 

Reducing the risk of avian influenza 

If you own birds you can adopt simple biosecurity measures to protect poultry and pets: 

  • prevent wild birds accessing and contaminating food and water supply with droppings 

  • supply birds with drinking water that is:  

    • treated (chlorinated) mains water 

    • ​water treated with chlorine from other sources​ 

A biosecurity checklist is available with information about keeping birds safe for contagious diseases like avian influenza: 

 Biosecurity Checklist for Bird Keepers (PDF 132Kb)

More information​​

The Australian Government has 2 useful pages about protecting birds against avian influenza:


Animal Disease Enquiries

13 St Johns Avenue,
New Town, TAS, 7008.