The purpose of this paper is to provides general information about avian influenza (bird flu) and specific information about one type of bird flu, called avian influenza A (H5N1), that has caused infections in birds in Asia and Europe and in human in Asia. The main materials in this report are based on the World Health Organization (WHO) , world organization for animal health (OIE) , food and agriculture organization of the united nations (FAO) information and recommendations and review of the published literature about avian influenza. Since December 2003, highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses have swept through poultry populations across Asia and parts of Europe. The outbreaks are historically unprecedented in scale and geographical spread. Their economic impact on the agricultural sector of the affected countries has been large. Human cases, with an overall fatality rate around 50%, have also been reported and almost all human infections can be linked to contact with infected poultry. Influenza viruses are genetically unstable and their behaviour cannot be predicted so the risk of further human cases persists. The human health implications have now gained importance, both for illness and fatalities that have occurred following natural infection with avian viruses, and for the potential of generating a re-assortant virus that could give rise to the next human influenza pandemic.