"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. In recent months, the virus has spread into parts of Europe. 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. Avian flu can be highly contagious in domestic poultry. Strict biosecurity measures are practiced among commercial poultry farms and are encouraged by governments. The economic effects of any avian influenza outbreak can be significant, especially given international trade restrictions. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21747
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/