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Timeline: bird flu goes global
December 2003
  • H5N1 bird flu virus first recognized in Republic of Korea
January 2004
  • Oubreaks in 10 countries across East and Southeast Asia, closing down regional markets for poultry and poultry products overnight. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf appeals to donors for help, warning that only "a brief window of opportunity" exists to contain the disease.
February 2004
  • FAO provides US$ 5.5 million from its own resources to Asian countries to fight bird flu.

  • FAO-OIE-WHO hold emergency strategy meeting in Rome with experts from 14 countries.

  • Officials, international experts, donors and development organizations from 23 Asia-Pacific countries meet in Bangkok for a regional emergency meeting.
March 2004
  • In Asia, 23 people have died so far and 100 million poultry have died or been culled.
November 2004
  • FAO-OIE warn that domestic ducks may be acting as a silent reservoir for disease transmission (See related story: Cracking the mystery of how disease spread).
February 2005
  • FAO-OIE-WHO organize regional meeting in Ho Chi Minh City. FAO warns that bird flu could lead to new global human influenza pandemic.

  • Close to 140 million birds have died or been destroyed in Asian epidemic to date, leaving many farmers in deep debt. Cost to Asian farmers in 2004 estimated at US$10 billion.

  • FAO sends expert to DPR Korea, helping to contain bird flu outbreak there.
April-June 2005
  • In China, 6 000 migratory birds die from H5N1 virus.
July 2005
  • Russia and Kazakhstan confirm H5N1 outbreaks in poultry and wild birds.
August 2005
  • In Mongolia, about 90 migratory birds die of bird flu.

  • FAO warns that Asian bird flu is likely to be carried over long distances along the flyways of wild water birds to the Middle East, Europe, South Asia and Africa.
September 2005
  • UN system coordinator for avian and human influenza takes up residence at UN Headquarters.
October 2005
  • Bird flu reaches Romania and Turkey through wild bird migration.
December 2005
  • FAO estimates that the livelihoods of 200 million poor small-scale farmers have been seriously affected by the disease.
January 2006
  • International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza in Beijing, China, commits US$1.9 billion to fighting the disease.

  • The World Bank estimates that a human influenza pandemic caused by a virus mutated from avian flu could cost the global economy US$800 billion per year.
February 2006
  • Bird flu reaches Nigeria.
  • In Europe, bird flu spreads quickly westward through wild birds (Italy, Greece, Switzerland).
April 2006
  • Bird flu now confirmed in 45 countries on three continents.
May 2006
  • FAO-OIE host an international scientific conference on avian influenza and wild birds.

Read more…

United against bird flu

Timeline: bird flu goes global

Viet Nam fights back with sweeping vaccination campaign

Thailand shares secrets of success

Cracking the mystery of how the disease spread

Turkey works to improve response time

Knocking the poor back down

When bird flu hits the poorest


Migratory birds in southern Spain.


Collecting eggs in Turkey.


Veterinarians in Nigeria examine dead chickens suspected of having bird flu.

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Timeline: bird flu goes global
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