Ever since Richard Preston
's startling book The Hot Zone
, killer viruses like Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and the hanta viruses have been huge at the box office--replacing bigger monsters as the scariest of horrors. Regis tells the story of how the Center for Disease Control (CDC) dealt efficiently with the most recent real-life outbreak of Ebola in Kikwit, Zaire in 1995. Although they never found the source of the outbreak, CDC scientists stopped it completely within a month. Initial panic by local medical authorities was stemmed with swift isolation of the infected and the training of staff to deal with this incurable horror using the latest technology: "rubber gloves, plastic gowns and face masks." Regis suggests that the threat from viruses has been overblown; his account of the CDC's heroic efficiency is certainly reassuring.
From Publishers Weekly
Despite outbreaks of headline-grabbing viral diseases such as Ebola and Marburg in which victims suffer uncontrollable bleeding and quickly die, Regis (Who Got Einstein's Office?) believes that the public's perception of an apocalyptic threat posed by emerging killer viruses is largely an illusion fostered by the Centers for Disease Control's global success in discovering undetected pathogens. This vivid report focuses on the CDC team of scientists and physicians dispatched from Atlanta headquarters to Zaire to fight an Ebola epidemic in 1995. The narrative also jumps back and forth to cover the CDC's drive to eradicate smallpox in the 1960s, its swift work in identifying a 1993 hantavirus epidemic on a New Mexican Navajo reservation and its efforts against Legionnaires' disease, Lassa fever, swine flu and other pathogens. Regis interweaves a history of the CDC, from its origins as a small, narrowly focused malaria-eradication agency in WWII to its modern role as hub of the planet's disease-fighting forces. This balanced report makes an impressive counterweight to more cautionary books such as Richard Preston's The Hot Zone and Laurie Garrett's The Coming Plague.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.