"Since the fall of 2003, a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) has spread throughout Asia, infecting mostly poultry but also a limited number of humans. The virus reached Europe in 2005, and the Middle East and Africa in 2006. Avian flu is highly contagious in domestic poultry. Strict biosecurity measures are practiced by commercial poultry farms and encouraged by governments. The economic effects of avian flu outbreaks can be significant, especially given international trade restrictions. Controlling avian flu in poultry is seen as the best way to prevent a human pandemic from developing, by reducing the number of animal hosts in which the virus may evolve. This report mainly covers avian flu in poultry, and will be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21747
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/