A range of measures has been recommended and used for the control and prevention of avian influenza. These measures are based on the assessment of local epidemiological situations, field observations and other scientific information. Other non-technical factors are (or in some cases should be) taken into account when developing and recommending control measures. The precise effects under field conditions of most individual interventions applied to control and prevent avian influenza have not been established or subjected to critical review, often because a number of measures are applied simultaneously without controls. In most cases, the combination of measures used results in control or elimination of the virus although there are some countries where this has not been the case. In others, especially those with low poultry density, it is not clear whether the link between the adoption of a set of measures and the subsequent control of the disease is causative. This article discusses the various measures recommended, with particular emphasis on stamping out and vaccination, examines how these measures assist in preventing zoonotic infections with avian influenza viruses and explores gaps in knowledge regarding their effectiveness.