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Global spread of H5N1

The global spread of (highly pathogenic) H5N1 in birds is considered a significant pandemic threat.

Tens of millions of birds have died of H5N1 influenza and hundreds of millions of birds have been slaughtered and disposed of to limit the spread of H5N1.

While prior H5N1 strains have been known, they were significantly different from the current H5N1 strain on a genetic level, making the global spread of this new strain unprecedented.

The current H5N1 strain is a fast-mutating, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) found in multiple bird species.

It is both epizootic (an epidemic in non-humans) and panzootic (a disease affecting animals of many species especially over a wide area).

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Global spread of H5N1", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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December 1, 2015

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updated 12:56 pm ET