In the news this week are reports of a fresh H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in India:
Veterinary workers in India have begun culling tens of thousands of chickens in an attempt to combat a fresh outbreak of bird flu in West Bengal. The disease surfaced in the region in January. More than one million birds were slaughtered. But about a month ago officials said the situation was under control. Both outbreaks involve the potentially fatal H5N1 virus, although so far there have been no reports of humans being infected in India. (BBC News 10 March 2008)
The more outbreaks the strain has in poultry the more likely it is that a reassortment will occur and a major pandemic will occur in humans - especially during 'flu season' when human influenza strains are most prevalent. A Google news search on H5N1 will throw up almost daily reports of new outbreaks. In the 24 hours there have been reports of outbreaks in India, Vietnam and Iraq and a human case in Egypt.