Avian influenza, also known as avian flu, bird flu, or fowl plague, is an animal disease of viral etiology that ranges from a mild or even asymptomatic infection to an acute, rapidly fatal disease of chickens, turkeys, guinea fowls, and other domestic poultry, as well as wild birds, migratory waterfowl, and other avian species. Inasmuch as the avian influenza viruses can be occasionally transmitted to humans, avian flu is a zoonotic disease. Due to its potential to cause worldwide epidemics in humans (i.e., pandemics), and the current A/H5N1 avian flu outbreak—that is, an epizootic or epornithic (the nonhuman equivalent of an epidemic in bird populations) in some parts of the world, particularly Southeast Asia—avian influenza has been identified as a major public health concern worldwide. ...

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