Human-to-human transmission of bird flu in four Southeast Asian countries has caused scientists to announce that the threat of a bird flu pandemic looms large. At first scientists weren’t sure it was spreading from person to person, but now they have documented cases of this in Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. It’s inevitable that it will soon strike the US.

In The Nation, Arthit Khwankhom quotes Dr. Kamnuan Ungchusak, who has reported on bird flu in the New England Journal of Medicine, as saying, “The virus remains virulent enough to sicken or kill another victim who is in close contact with the infected person.” As with SARS, the people most at risk at first are doctors and other health workers. All readers should ask their doctors for a prescription for Tamiflu, which mitigates the symptoms of bird flu. Once the epidemic starts, this drug will be in short supply.

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