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Zoonotic Potential

Although infection of humans with AI virus is rare, in 1997 18 people in Hong Kong fell ill due to a HPAI H5N1 virus.  Six people died.  Eradication of the HPAI outbreak in chickens was successful and no further human infection occurred.

More recently, in 2002 a pathogenic H5N1 virus related to the 1997 virus caused the death of one of two infected people in Hong Kong.  This virus was the precursor of the viruses that subsequently spread in poultry and wild birds over most of Asia, parts of Europe and Africa and caused over 100 human deaths by March 2006.  Mass media have named this highly pathogenic virus capable of infecting humans the “bird flu.”


For a description of HPAI H5N1outbreak in Asia, Europe and Africa links:


European situation


WHO fact sheet

Egg safety

WHO on eating chicken


National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and the Egg Safety Center

USDA website

More information on Human Influenza



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