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It may sound innocuous compared to war plague and famine but flu is in fact one of the worlds biggest killers. Strains of the virus are always in circulation but every so often a new and particularly virulent one comes along to which we have no historic immunity when that happens the consequences are devastating. This fascinating book explores the havoc caused by the worlds most deadly virus and the destruction left in its wake. From its initial identification by the Greek physician Hippocrates in the 4th century BC to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and beyond Tom Quinn explores the social medical and scientific ramifications of the major outbreaks that have occurred over the centuries and the potential consequences should such a pandemic occur in the modern world an event that many believe is just a matter of time. The likelihood and impact of a pandemic caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian flu jumping species is also explored along with recent scientific attempts to alter the structure of the virus in order to destroy it or attenuate its virulence.

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