The purpose of this portal is to bring news and information about Avian Influenza and the Pandemic Threat from across the UN system into one place.
The portal is maintained by the Office of the Senior UN System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza (UNSIC).
The UN Department of Public Information handles media requests for UNSIC, and coordinates UN communications in avian influenza issues.
Since 2003, a devastating epidemic of avian influenza caused by the highly lethal H5N1 virus has predominately affected poultry flocks in many countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Over a hundred people that mainly had direct contact with infected birds have died; most cases have occurred in previously healthy children and young adults.
Over 200 million chickens had to be killed to stop the spread of the virus or they have died of the disease. Farmers and poultry producers have suffered losses amounting to billions of dollars.
Avian influenza is an animal disease that so far has not yet resulted in a sustained human-to-human transmission. Scientists are concerned the virus could be able to infect people and spread easily from one person to another. The widespread circulation of avian influenza virus in animals increases this risk.
The global battle against avian influenza and a possible human influenza pandemic focuses on:
National avian and human influenza plans are the centerpieces of the global response to the bird flu crisis. However, many countries have only limited technical and financial capacities to develop and implement their bird flu programmes, they are increasingly relying on technical support provided by UN organizations.