According to the C.D.C., “Bird Flu” caused by infection of the H5N1 virus, while rare in humans, “poses an important public health threat”. The virus has become endemic in some bird populations in areas of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Near East. It is usually only contracted by humans, such as poultry workers, who come into direct contact with bird waste, only extremely rarely is the virus spread from one human to another.
Fears exist that H5N1 may mutate, leading to a new form of the virus that possesses another mode of infection that could make person-to-person infection more common. In such a case, a pandemic could occur with a devastating toll on human populations across the world. These fears have kept new outbreaks of Avian Flu a matter of public concern.