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What are the differences between low pathogenic and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses?

The designation of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) or highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) refers to the potential for these viruses produce disease. The designation of “low pathogenic” or “highly pathogenic” does not refer to how infectious the viruses may be to humans.

Most strains of avian influenza are not highly pathogenic and cause few symptoms in infected wild birds. H5N1 is a subtype of avian influenza that has both low pathogenic and highly pathogenic strains. The low pathogenic strain is rarely fatal in birds. The highly pathogenic strain has caused serious outbreaks in domestic poultry, mostly in Asia and the Middle East. It has also infected over 500 humans, about 60% of whom died from their illness.