World Organisation for Animal Health

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Home > Animal health in the World > Web portal on Avian Influenza

About AI

Avian influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.), as well as pet birds and wild birds.

The AI viruses are divided in two groups based on their ability to cause disease (pathogenicity). Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus spreads rapidly, may cause serious disease and result in high mortality rates (up to 100% within 48 hours). The low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) can causes mild disease that may be undetected or no symptoms at all in some species of birds.

The current global AI disease situation has focused the attention of the international community over several years now. The OIE’s objectives of promoting transparency and understanding of the global animal disease situation, collecting, analysing and disseminating veterinary information, strengthening international coordination and cooperation in the control of animal diseases and zoonoses, and promoting the safety of world trade in animals and animal products continue as a priority of our organisation in the face of this situation.

The science-based standards, guidelines and recommendations issued by the OIE are designated as the international reference in dealing with avian influenza. The OIE through its experts and world network of Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centers , and in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) provides policy advice, strategy design and technical assistance for the control and eradication of avian influenza.