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Bird Flu: Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic Paperback – January 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Siegel, a practicing internist with a second career as a New York-based medical commentator, weaves in many useful and accurate facts about avian flu in the book that, by his own account, he raced to complete. …[His] daily practice is peopled (as are those of many popular practitioners) with patients whose anxieties sometimes outstrip their common sense. For them, Siegel's book serves a purpose. Like the good doctor he no doubt is, he exhorts them to focus on what they can do now to protect their health: losing weight and stopping smoking, for starters, instead of staying awake at night over a threat that has not yet descended on humankind in a big way--and perhaps never will.
—Claire Panosian Dunavan is professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a frequent contributor to the Book Review and Health sections. (LA Time Book Review, March 18, 2006)
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. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, February 27, 2006)
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Top Customer Reviews
I have heard Dr. Siegel many times on radio and seen him on TV and have always been impressed by his command of information and his logical conclusions.
Siegel also suggests looking at the downward trend in U.S. flu pandemic deaths - about 500,000 in the 1918 Spanish Flu, 70,000 in the 1957 Asian Flu pandemic, and 34,000 during the 1968 Hong Kong Flu. He attributes this to improved sanitation and the use of pneumonia vaccines (pneumonia causing about half the deaths attributed to flu). Finally, he also points out that cooking poultry kills 100% of the flu virus.
The greatest problem with the avian flu, according to Siegel, is our tendency to panic and over-react. He does not recommend that citizens stockpile Tamiflu because it is expensive, only has about a three-year shelf life, and most citizens would probably waste it because they wouldn't know when to properly use it.
Siegel's "Bottom-Line:" We should be focusing more on the pandemic we already have - AIDS/HIV.
Here's a quote from page 18 of his book:
Should I prepare emergency supplies
of food and water just in case?
Absolutely not. We've been asking one another this question
ever since experts told us that the year 2000 bug in
our computers would shut down communications and
Sinister things scare us out of proportion to their
actual risk of affecting us, and we respond, quite naturally,
by wanting to be afraid. But bird flu can be seen as
one in a long line of things we've been warned about, and
for which we supposedly need some kind of "safe room"
with an ample supply of food and water just in case.
[end of quote]
Three comments about this passage:
1)It gives the "year 2000 bug" as an example of an unfounded fear. Does Dr. Siegel realize that many computer professionals worked long and hard, and many companies spent millions of dollars, to prevent the Y2K meltdown from happening, as it certainly would have if the mitigation efforts had not been successful?
2)It conflicts with the advice of the U.S. government, which states, at their "Individuals and Families Planning" page at [...] "Stock a supply of water and food. During a pandemic you may not be able to get to a store.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't bother with this book unless you enjoy being talked down to by a condescending physician. He treats the readers as if they are imbeciles. Read morePublished on November 7, 2007 by Hawkeye Wife
Dr. Marc Siegel's book delivers what has been sorely missing in the discussion of bird flu--a balanced, reasonable, and objective view of this possible threat to our health. Dr. Read morePublished on August 9, 2006 by Francis V. Adams, M.D.
The spread of a lethal strain of bird flu in the past two years has sparked fears of a new pandemic. In Bird Flu, Dr. Read morePublished on July 27, 2006 by C. Santisteban
Book reviewers who say Dr. Siegel's book makes light of the danger of bird flu should go back to school to learn how to read a book critically. Read morePublished on July 12, 2006 by Critical Reader
Having read other books by Marc Siegel, MD, beginning with his first novel Bellevue I am completely comfortable with a topic such as Bird Flu as explained by the author. Read morePublished on July 12, 2006 by Laura Blue
Unlike the last reviewer, who seems to see danger lurking in every adverse event, I like Dr. Siegel's approach that indicates a pandemic is not created by easily occurring events. Read morePublished on July 11, 2006 by Bruce Klutchko
Marc Siegel, MD does not believe there will be a bird flu pandemic. On page 18 he says, "I do not think a massive bird flu pandemic that kills many millions of people worldwide is... Read morePublished on June 11, 2006 by Jeffrey E Ellis
As a medical research scientist, I can say beyond a doubt that a flu pandemic is brewing that may change modern civilization in ways that will go beyond our wildest imagination... Read morePublished on May 2, 2006 by John Jay Harper
For Americans, with yet another media hyped event the responses run the gamut from feigned interest to outright hysteria. Read morePublished on April 1, 2006 by C. Destefano