The Revenge Of the Birds

Asia's avian flu is spreading rapidly, increasing the risk that it will mutate into something far deadlier

The white coffin of Kaptan Boonmanuj, 6, is installed in the front room of his family's farmhouse in western Thailand. A framed photo shows Kaptan in his school uniform; nearby, someone has parked his little bicycle. Kaptan fell ill a few days after the New Year with a mysterious fever that developed into lung complications. "Mum," he told his mother, "my chest feels like it is going to explode." When he died last week, Kaptan became Thailand's first confirmed victim of avian influenza, the latest scourge to emerge from Asia. Inside the Boonmanuj household, relatives burn incense and quietly weep. Outside,...

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