Avian influenza

Background

Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is an infectious disease of birds caused by the influenza A virus. A variety of influenza subtypes can be found in birds, especially water fowl and shore birds. Domestic poultry are vulnerable to infection and outbreaks can rapidly develop in flocks.

Avian influenza rarely infects humans and does not transmit easily between humans. Infection can range from mild illness to death. The epidemiology and virology of avian influenza viruses are continually monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to their pandemic potential.