"Marc Siegel is an articulate voice of reason in a world beset by hype and hysteria. We would be well advised to listen closely to what he has to say."
-Jerome Groopman, M.D., staff writer, the New Yorker
"Siegel cuts through the hype about the 'deadly' this and the 'lethal' that, and applies reason in seeking the answers."
-John M. Barry, author of The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History
"Timely and needed. At such times, we need soothsayers and explicators to redirect the ready-fire-aim mindset. Siegel's book fulfills this role well."
-The Journal of the American Medical Association
As bird flu sweeps through Asia, the rest of the world has begun to worry that it might spread west and start infecting humans. As many experts have pointed out, an influenza pandemic is only a matter of time and that time could be now. Or is it? In Bird Flu, Dr. Marc Siegel cuts through the hype, the facts, the fears, and the realities to explain what has the experts so worried and why there's still plenty of reason to be calm. Among the questions he answers are:
* What is bird flu, and who has it?
* What can I do to protect my family?
* Should I stockpile Tamiflu?
* Will this be like the deadly Spanish flu of 1918?
* Why is there no bird flu vaccine?
* Will the annual flu shot protect me?
In his sensible and entertaining style, Siegel looks at the advances we've made in treatments, the research still to be done, and the challenges ahead for Asia to lay out a realistic plan for ending this global threat. While a bird flu outbreak in the United States may or may not happen this year, there's still a great deal of work to be done in readying America for outbreaks of any kind.
The most important thing to know about the avian flu pandemic is that it probably ain't coming, argues this brisk debunking of the latest medical scare story. Siegel, an associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine (False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear), cites evidence that the death rate from avian flu could be much lower than the reported estimate of 50% and it will probably not mutate to be readily transmissible between humans. And unlike the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, Siegel contends, a new bird flu pandemic would face effective public health measures and medical treatments. Revisiting the West Nile virus, anthrax, SARS and bioterrorism panics, Siegel sees bird flu as the latest "bug du jour" hyped by government and media alarmism. Meanwhile, he complains, attention is diverted from far more deadly diseases like AIDS, malaria and regular flu. In his own lapse into medical panic, he insists that stress induced by medical panics is itself a serious medical problem. Siegel accessibly presents the facts about avian flu, together with colorful anecdotes about his own panic-stricken patients whom he advises to simply eat right and exercise. Siegel's exemplary bedside manner makes this dose of common sense go down easy.