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Animal Health and Welfare
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Avian Influenza - Introduction

Avian Influenza (AI) or "Bird Flu" is a highly contagious viral infection which can affect all species of birds.

Influenza infections in birds are divided in two groups on the basis of their ability to cause disease:

  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) causing serious disease with high mortality and
  • Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) causing in general a mild disease.

Free-living birds may carry influenza viruses without becoming ill due to a natural resistance. It is known that wild waterfowl present a natural reservoir for these viruses and can be responsible for the primary introduction of infection into domestic poultry.


Visit the Public Health website for more information concerning the threat to health or direct to this page:

In recent years three different subtypes of avian influenza viruses(H5N1, H7N7 and H9N2) have been detected in humans causing disease of varying degrees of seriousness.

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