A “brilliant” and “fascinating” investigation of the looming avian flu pandemic—and how we arrived at the brink of a global health catastrophe—The New York Times
The virus known as H5N1 is now endemic among poultry and wild bird populations in East Asia. A flu strain of astonishing lethality, it has a talent for transforming itself to foil the human immune system—and kills two out of every three people it infects. The World Health Organization now warns that avian flu is on the verge of mutating into a super-contagious form that could travel at pandemic velocity, killing up to 100 million people within two years.
In The Monster at Our Door, the first book to sound this alarm, our foremost urban and environmental critic reconstructs the scientific and political history of this viral apocalypse in the making, exposing the central roles played by burgeoning slums, the agribusiness and fast-food industries, and corrupt governments. Mike Davis tracks the avian flu crisis as the virus moves west and the world remains woefully unprepared to contain it. With drug companies unwilling to invest in essential vaccines, severe shortages persist, a scenario Davis compares to the sinking Titanic: there are virtually no lifesaving resources available to the poor, and precious few for the rich, too.