Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N1 was first officially reported in Africa in 2006; thereafter this
virus has spread rapidly from Nigeria to 11 other African countries. This study was aimed at utilizing data from confirmed
laboratory reports to carry out a qualitative evaluation of the factors responsible for HPAI H5N1 persistence in Africa and the
public health implications; and to suggest appropriate control measures. Relevant publications were sought from data banks
and repositories of FAO, OIE, WHO, and Google scholars. Substantiated data on HPAI H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in Africa
and in humans across the world were mined. HPAI H5N1 affects poultry and human populations, with Egypt having highest
human cases (346) globally. Nigeria had a reinfection from 2014 to 2015, with outbreaks in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger,
Nigeria, and Burkina Faso throughout 2016 unabated. The persistence of this virus in Africa is attributed to the survivability
of HPAIV, ability to evolve other subtypes through genetic reassortment, poor biosecurity compliance at the live bird
markets and poultry farms, husbandry methods and multispecies livestock farming, poultry vaccinations, and continuous
shedding of HPAIV, transboundary transmission of HPAIV through poultry trades; and transcontinental migratory birds.
There is, therefore, the need for African nations to realistically reassess their status, through regular surveillance and be
transparent with HPAI H5N1 outbreak data. Also, it is important to have an understanding of HPAIV migration dynamics
which will be helpful in epidemiological modeling, disease prevention, control and eradication measures.