Avian influenza (AI), commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds.
Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans; however some, such as H5N1, have caused serious infections in people.
Outbreaks of AI in poultry may raise global public health concerns due to their effect on poultry populations, their potential to cause serious disease in people, and their pandemic potential.
Reports of highly pathogenic AI epidemics in poultry can seriously impact local and global economies and international trade.
The majority of human cases of H5N1 infection have been associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry. There is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly cooked food.
Controlling the disease in animals is the first step in decreasing risks to humans.