Humans have no natural immunity to bird flu. Its symptoms are severe and can lead to death within five to six days. While so far all victims have caught the virus directly from infected birds, many scientists fear that it is just a matter of time before the virus mutates and begins to spread from human to human, leading to a pandemic that could kill up to 40 million people around the world. Cutting through the deluge of news stories about bird flu, this definitive guide explains how the bird flu virus works, the harm that it has already caused in Asia, why it will be so deadly if it begins to spread between humans, and what has been done so far to protect communities from the threat (not enough, many scientists fear). It will look at the antiviral drugs which offer us short-term protection, but also investigate why we have done so little to invest in vaccine development. In addition to giving the background story of the bird flu pandemic, the book is full of practical information on what people can do to protect themselves, including advice from experts on how to boost the immune system and procedures to follow if the pandemic arrives.
Everyone needs to know as much as they can about this virus in order to protect their health. This book is a must-have purchase for everyone.
Jo Revill is Health Editor of The Observer and has worked on The Evening Standard, The Sunday Times and The Mail on Sunday. She has written extensively on health and environment issues and worked closely with medical organizations and NGOs such as the World Health Organisation.