Although the number of people infected with avian influenza has fallen since 2006, the World Health Organization says the disease remains a serious threat to humans, according to Agence France Presse.

In a press release, it cited the seven human deaths from the disease this year as cause for concern. "The newly confirmed human and poultry cases of avian influenza this year are a reminder that the virus poses a real and continuous threat to human health," the WHO said in a statement.

Advertisement

The H5N1 virus killed 39 of the 73 people it infected in 2009, a fatality rate of about 59%. The agency remains concerned that the virus could mutate into a more contagious form.