Alexandra M. Levitt: Deadly Outbreaks



Ies demonstrate the importance danger and xcitement of public health fforts to understand infectious disease outbreaks and other disease clusters Levitt unashamedly admits that one goal of this book is to inspire young people to consider careers in public healthOn that count Deadly Outbreaks succeeds Put this book in the hands of a high schooler who already is thinking about a STEM career and you might make a convertPersonally I love this stuff Several of these stories I d heard before the Sin Nombre virus Legionnaire s Disease but I was delighted to read in detail about the scientistphysiciandetectives who actually were on the ground in the center of these outbreaks trying to assemble the knowledge needed to stop the deaths Most of the tales were new to me and carried a lot of motional impact Babies dying in a Canadian hospital Laborers paralyzed by work in a pig slaughterhouseThis is a fascinating book Canadian Art, Volume 1 (A-F) easy to read in one chapter pieces perfect for the bedside table It s competently written but it lacks the narrative genius of a Malcolm Gladwell or Mary Roach popular science book It also has a fair amount of real science in it Thus I recommend this book for people who like sciencespecially microbiology but it might not appeal to readers who do not have a pre Counter-Amores existing interest in the subject matter There are chapters in this book that read likexciting detective stories numerous victims of an unknown serial killer confusing clues in unexpected places a giant jigsaw puzzle to sort through determined investigators Thrilling stuff However Chapter 6 The Red Mist is one of the most disgusting tales I have Dancing at Armageddon ever read It follows a search through processing plants for pork products Enough said A fascinating insight into howpidemiologists solve medical mysteries The case studies were interesting and very informative the scientific methods used were described very clearly However I didn t like how the author kept dropping tidbits about the doctors and patients Double Jeopardy every now and then when reading a book like this I like facts of how the answer solution was derivedverything Composition and Literature else just distracts from the case being presented I have always reallynjoyed medical books and this is a pretty good one I found it refreshing that Dr Levitt did such a good job showcasing the scientists that worked so hard to improve public health It was nice to see these people get some credit for their work Also it was very interesting to see some of the less Cezanne and Provence exotic cases of disease outbreaks in America it really drives home the point that many of these outbreaks are caused by modern human intervention on thenvironment Overall though the style writing is a little clunky but that is the be xpected Alexandra Levitt is a doctor not a writer In addition to this book I would recommend David uammen s Spillover David uammen is a great medical writer an Seven chapters Seven disease investigations by public health services Seven lessons learned1 Dead Crows Falling From the Sky Lesson Human health care working with veterinary health care to find answers2 The McConnon Strain Lesson The Importance of talking to the locals at an outbreak to find information3 Sorrow Statistics Lesson The importance of data4 Obsession or Inspiration Lesson Investigation is a combination of sooo many things In this case data collection correlations limination factors control studies with non sick locals and other illnesses sample collections A huge puzzle and the inspiration one person can have that finds the missing piece5 Dangerous Desserts Lesson When it comes to food ALL the production Contested Reproduction elements need to be accounted for from beginning tond product Also the importance of publishing findings so others can learn from the case6 The Red Mist Lesson Always new forms of dispersal of an infectious agent7 A Normal Spring Lesson Old World Diseases keep reappearing in new forms in new locations across the globeI found the book interesting to read full of brilliant people committed to making a difference. Here she shares insider accounts she’s collected that go behind the alarming headlines we’ve seen in the media mysterious food poisonings unexplained deaths at a children’s hospital a strange neurologic disease afflicting slaughterhouse workers flocks of birds dropping dead out of the sky and drug resistant malaria running rampant in a refugee camp Meet the resourceful investigators doctors veterinarians and research scientists and discover the truth behind these cases and.

Although this book deals with a subject which I find Divided by Color (American Politics and Political Economy Series) endlessly fascinating I must conclude it was a disappointment The writing is uninspired and sloppy Perhaps the author would have benefited from a co author with varied and interesting prose style or at least a keenyed Creating Country Music editor One glaring mess that stand out in my mind is when a patient with Hanta virus is described as going into cardiac arrest and shock Pretty sure that should be the other way around which I assume the author knows Unfortunately carelessrrors like that make it hard to lend much credenceIf you do read this book for the love of god skip the audio version Narrated by Julie McKay it is delivered like an instruction manual for assembling furniture She spells out abbreviations and acronyms constantly U S A M R I I D instead of utilizing common pronunciations Her pronunciation of medical terminology leaves a lot to be desired These things may sound nit picky but anyone who reads a lot of audiobooks knows that a narrator can make or break a bookThere are many interesting books on Blacklands epidemiology this is just not one of them Beating Back the Devil by Maryn McKenna is a much better book dealing with EIS and Spillover by David uammen is a reallyngaging read dealing specifically with diseases that cross over from animal reservoirs I would recommend both of those a hundred times over Deadly Outbreaks I remember reading news stories about half of these outbreaks so it s interesting to read about the work of Evolutionary Patterns epidemiologists At times it got a little technical for me butven if I only got 85% of the content that s still 85% information than I had before reading this book Ch 1 Dead Crows Falling from the Sky describes how in 1999 teams of medical detectives worked separately on a spike of mysterious deaths in the boroughs of NYC In ueens a number of older adults who had spent significant time outdoors died of Evolution As Entropy encephalitistc And a large number of birds were dying Finally the two teams worked together to determine it was an outbreak of West Nile virusCh 2 The McConnon Strain reviews cases of malaria in Cambodia in the 1970s and the decision of the US government about who could be moved to the Philippines and then to the US Scientists did a lot of analysis and did not see a pattern in who got infected until they asked locals who reported that men were running contraband at night in the jungles which Forging Gay Identities explained the spike Ch 3 Sorrow and Statisticsxplains in great detail how data from a pediatric unit in Toronto was analyzed in an attempt to determine if there was a pattern behind higher than normal statistics for infant deaths between midnight and 6 am pointing to a malevolent staff member as the most probably variable Ch 4 Obsession or Inspiration describes the work behind identifying the 1976 Legionaire s disease outbreak in Philly After many scientists reaching a dead Forbidden History end a lone scientist who had a seemingly unrelated skill setnded up identifying the bacteria The moral to this story is that pools of scientists should be diverse Ch 5 Dangerous Desserts In 1994 Schwan had an outbreak of salmonella poisoning that was tied to their ice cream Further work by Fiche Blian ag Fás epidemiologists identified hot batches that were connected to ice cream mix transported in food trucks that previously had held angg mix that did not get adeuately scoured out The lesson here was to have super tight control over all links in the supply chain Schwan Esteem Enlivened by Desire ended up buying higher uality transport trucks of their own instead of subcontracting that step Ch 6 The Red Mist in 2007 a cluster ofmployees in a MN meat processing plant pork were Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith exhibiting peripheral neurological problems A team ofpidemiologists from Mayo observed the assembly line and their hypothesis was that an aerosol blasting tool for removing brains from the pigs was causing an aerosol spread of the catalyst They asked the factory managers to immediately stop using that tool This stopped the spread but it took time to back up their hunch with data Ch 7 A Despite advances in health care infectious microbes continue to be a formidable adversary to scientists and doctors Vaccines and antibiotics the mainstays of modern medicine have not been able to conuer infectious microbes because of their amazing ability to adapt volve and spread to new places Terrorism aside one of the greatest dangers from infectious disease we face today is from a massive outbreak of drug resistant microbes Deadly Outbreaks recounts the scientific adventure.

Ormal Spring in 1993 there was an uptick of deaths which led to an investigation It took some time but finally hantavirus was the conclusion I have a friend living in the TX panhandle whose young daughter died of during this outbreak It took a while because this outbreak involved symptoms that were atypical When there are conditions favorable for increased breeding of mice mild winter wet spring creating food for the mice then hantavirus increases Those who work in the soil clean out barns or live in mice infested dwellings are at higher risk There is an Afterwards speculating about future outbreaks And a chapter that provides an update for the scientists who worked on the cases discussed in the books There was only one woman prominently featured but I think after COVID 19 we will be getting young people including women ntering the field Excellent read and provides important information as to what our public health officials deal with investigate and They Shall Be One Flesh eliminate threats to us on a regular basis Yes there are scientific terms but it is very readable and you d Explores the medical mysteries behind identifying the avian flu Legionnaire s Disease the hantavirus in New Mexico and several other some still unsolved disease outbreaks Sort of like Bones and CSI in real life It s scary how many brilliant people in differing fields need to work together to discover some of the causalities Interesting book but I would have liked science and victim stories and less background on the scientists As the subtitle suggests Deadly Outbreaks is all about medical mysteries For suspicious cases where multiple patients die or fall ill and the reason is unknownpidemiologists are often called in to help determine the cause Some of these investigations are retrospective but many reuire clever deduction to take place uickly in order to prevent people from becoming sickThe true stories included in Deadly Outbreaks were all interesting and all very different Although the first story gave away the The Heritage of Arabo-Islamic Learning ending tooarly all of the others had me reading uickly to find out what happened next I am Hereward (Hereward, extremely interested in the intersection of biology and math so the clever waypidemiologists used the data to solve problems and save lives made this my kind of book However some flaws in the writing kept this from being the riveting narrative non fiction story it had the potential to beTwo things in particular struck me as off about the writing but I did have an ARC so it s possible these will be fixed before the book goes to print In my copy the tone of the book was very clinical When we learned about the people involved in Under One Sky each case the sections introducing them made me feel like someone was reading a resume at me A few personal details were thrown in butven these just felt factual There were also too many details For instance the first case wrap up includes a listing of which borough in NYC the patients were from Information like this was far less interesting than the main story and slowed the pace of the whole bookThe science was the other big problem In some cases many scientific details were thrown in that ven as someone in science I didn t find interesting the size of a particular gene for xample Often these asides weren t Groom and Doom explained wellnough that someone without a science background would get anything out of them These bits were really asides so if you have no science background you could asily read this book and skip them without being confused They didn t however serve a useful purpose Although I ve spent a while on the bad bits I don t mean to suggest this wasn t an njoyable read The stories were so interesting they basically speak for themselves so if you have an interest in medical mysteries this is a book I d recommend This review first published on Doing Dewey ScienceThrillerscom review Dr Alexandra Levitt narrates the true stories of seven medical mysteries solved by field Murder at the Savoy (Martin Beck, epidemiologists investigators for the CDC s Epidemic Intelligence Service These stor. S of a special group of intrepid individuals who investigate these outbreaks around the world and figure out how to stop them Part homicide detective part physician these medical investigators must view the problem fromvery angle 22 Britannia Road exhaustingvery possible source of contamination Any data gathered in the field must be stripped of human sorrows and carefully analyzed into hard statisticsAuthor Dr Alexandra Levitt is an Gabe Izzy expert onmerging diseases and other public health threats.

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