Hey all you premeds, what do you know about bird flu? Medical students might just be the key to averting an impending viral disaster. With continued talk of influenza A (H5N1) threats, researchers at the University of Alberta decided to survey med students about both their knowledge of the virus and their willingness to serve in the wake of an outbreak. Should avian influenza reach pandemic proportions, there might be an official health personnel shortage. In such an event, med students may be called upon to fill in the gaps. The researchers were disturbed at the large number of students with inaccurate knowledge of the virus's mechanisms. For example, nearly 25% of those surveyed incorrectly identified blood transfusions as a major route of transmission, even though there is no supporting data. They were heartened, however, by med students' overwhelming willingness to volunteer and serve in the face of a pandemic. So all you MCAT crammers, put down that o-chem book and start prepping for the real world. It may be here sooner than you think!