To get the obvious out of the way, the bird flu is actually called Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, or simply H5N1 for short. The flu may cause illness both in humans and a broad variety of animal species.
It is called the bird flu, or even avian influenza, because its causative agent is mostly transmitted via a bird-adapted strain of H5N1 (namely, HPAI A(H5N1)).
HPAI A(H5N1) is considered to be enzootic (this means epidemic among non-humans) in many birds in southeast Asia, from where it is believed to have originally spread.
Taking a look into the history of this pandemic may prove that we ought to take it seriously, because if the flu mutates to adopt to the human organism – tens of millions of people could die of its effects.
So far as we know, the flu dates as early as the early 19th century, more precisely the earliest samples have been obtained from the dead bodies of the Spanish Flu – back in 1918. There are multiple reasons to believe that this flu may have also been the cause to the bird flu's evolutionary process.
So why is this bad news?
Because the Spanish Flu had killed 20 to 50 millions. The news gets worse when we take into account the fact that today's population density is much greater, as well as the fact that a single person carrying the flu may bring it to the other side of the globe in under a day.
Another disturbing statistic indicates that a mutated human-to-human bird flu could cut down any amount between 5 and 150 million people.
This is exactly why many who see health authority warning easily yield to the hype that's rapidly rising concerning this pandemic.
Another medical authority, namely Britain's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson's research brings even more bad news. He claims, that according to his findings, the question was never whether the flu will ever surface, but rather when. This is because it is easy for the bird flu virus to combine with human virus, which in turn may kill millions because their immune system is not expecting that particular type of attack.
Aside from the Spanish flu, more evidence of the flu's capacities would include:
the 1958 Asian flu pandemic, and
the Hong Kong flu.
The worst of all news is that it is impossible to have an effective vaccine until after the flu has finished mutating, and even then, it will take months to produce enough of it for a global demographic.
The only comfort when cornered like this would be the fact that, in comparison to what people had during any of the give previous pandemics, we've still got:
improved public amenities and
Also, it is important to take extra care while engaging in physical contact since most viruses that are similar to this flu enter the human body via:
mucous membranes of the eyes
and the nose
as well as the fingernails.