Natural disasters are sure to grab our attention again this year, but the avian flu H5N1 – or “bird flu” as it is sometimes called – will continue to be a top priority. Avian flu is highly contagious and often fatal among birds. Outbreaks in poultry have been reported in numerous countries. The concern for planners comes from the possible human infection of the virus. While H5N1 does not usually infect people, there have been human cases reported, sometimes resulting in death. Most of these cases occur from direct contact with infected poultry. There have been only 14 reported fatalities worldwide. On the other hand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 36,000 people die in the United States each year from standard influenza viruses and complications now. We rarely hear about that. We have been warned that the avian flu could mutate and spread rapidly from human to human.