This timeline details reported cases of bird flu in both animals and people from the first recording of the virus in China's Guangdong Province in 1996 onwards.

The document also highlights milestones in bird flu research, such as the October 2005 finding that the deadly 1918 pandemic virus shares characteristics with the H5N1 virus, and the March 2006 research that explains why H5N1 does not yet easily infect people.

The timeline also shows the geographical spread of the virus from Asia — especially South-East Asia — through central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The timeline is periodically updated — check the World Health Organization's avian influenza website for the latest version.


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