Joseph B McCormick

Teoksen Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC tekijä

3 Works 577 Jäsentä 6 arvostelua

About the Author

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Since first hearing of Ebola and "emerging viruses" I have periodically read a fairly wide range of books on this and related epidemiology including Richard Preston's "Hot Zone", William Closes's "Ebola", John Barry's "The Great Influenza", Jeffrey Fisher's "The Plague Makers", and Laurie Garrett's "The Coming Plague" among others. What originally draws me to these books are the details behind the medicine and science that work hand in hand on the front lines of the fight against these diseases. I find the medical details endlessly fascinating and the related science and technologies riveting. These are gripping and absolutely compelling real life stories of detection, critical analysis, scientific and medical methodology, and invention and discovery on a scale that is both vast and intimate at the same time. It's one thing to read about a deadly pandemic and understand the biology and medicine behind it. It's quite another to listen to the shocking and heart-rending stories of the individuals who have suffered and too often died as seemingly arbitrary victims of a mindless and microscopic world that swirls around us so often unseen.
What I really liked about Dr. McCormick and Dr. Fisher-Hoch's book, "Level 4 Virus Hunters of the CDC" was that while it spent plenty of time on the epidemiology and the underlying medicine, it never forgot that the book is essentially about people who suffered and died, often horribly and in many cases needlessly. The human, almost casual tone of the books, brings home that these global struggles against illnesses and disease outbreaks are staffed by regular people who spend their lives defending other regular people with the best they have to offer at any given time in knowledge, equipment, support, and finances.
There were many instances in which the book truly moved me and often I came away feeling anger against a world that so often seems too complex for its own good, made that way by conflicting agendas that have little to do with the greater good and much to do with power, greed, and status. And in the end, those who suffer the "unintended consequences" are the nameless thousands, most often in impoverished nations and far away from the benefits of "developed society" who are denied access to those benefits that we in this country often take for granted.
I applaud these two doctors, and so many like them, for choosing lives of great service to humanity, and for taking the time to share their experiences with those of us who may never see these diseases and environments face to face, but MUST know what is going on around the globe and why. These issues are never easy, but reading about real people who are working to resolve them for the terribly real people who are suffering and dying every day, can help give refocus to our own lives. Perhaps that becomes inspiration to help solve problems near to home. Perhaps it provides motivation to further research and ultimately regular contributions to those organizations with the greatest positive impact in the areas of greatest need. What books like this remind us is that even small well-thought out and appropriate interventions of time, or skill, or money, can often save lives and keep families together.
If this book has said nothing more than this, then it has said quite a bit that needs to be heard in this day and age.

… (lisätietoja)
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TomGale | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 18, 2020 |
A highly interesting book about, among other things, how deforestation puts humans into contact with deadly viruses, reduces the posibility of living off the land, as well as how certain viruses were found and diagnosed, and how viruses spread/don't spread among and between humans and animals based on sanitary conditions.

This book also made me want to shower, but I'll settle for staying in the USA. Not that it helps; one of the last viruses that is discovered made its way to the USA through the import of Monkeys (creatures that are used for testing by cosmetics industries as well as veing used for testing by the pharmeceutical industry). It also shows how Africa in general, being significantly poverty-stricken in the locations these viruses were showing up, could not afford the patented tests, kits, or vaccinations that they need just to survive.

The book leads me to conclude three things:

1. Vaccinate yourself, and if you have any, vaccinate your damn children. Herd immunity IS all it is cracked up to be

2. With the advance in global climate change heating up the ice and releasing any and all pathogens trapped within: it won't be the rising oceans that kill us but the deadly diseases none of us are equipped to handle resurging, and that combined with airplane transport means that there is nowhere that is safe.

3. The biggest obstacle in getting people worldwide the vaccinations that they need relies (at least in big part) on funding. Give your money wisely, but give. Or, stop patenting life-saving machinery and then selling it at a rate you know poverty-stricken countries cannot afford even on an individual basis.
… (lisätietoja)
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m_mozeleski | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 13, 2018 |
For a subject that should be edge of your seat exciting, this was dry and slow in a lot of places.
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cookierooks | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 16, 2016 |
How could I not read a book co-written by Joe McCormick? I've read about him in numerous books, mostly for his work against Ebola and Lassa Fever in Africa, and was quite excited to see he had written this with his wife about their experiences working for the CDC.

It's an enjoyable read, but I did find it a bit, well, luke-warm. It neither offers any tremendous insight into the diseases themselves nor does it give much information about the scientist working on them. Seasoned lovers of epidemiology will find nothing new related to the topic here and those new to the world of diseases may find themselves confused with the such a limited amount of information to be found. The events are so scattered over such long period of time and deal with such a myriad of diseases that all the details are glossed over, which leads to an unsatisfying read.

It does give the reader an idea of what it's like working in Africa, and it does a great job stressing the need for further research. If you are curious about Joe McCormick's work this is perfectly serviceable. I won't recommend it to everyone but it's not bad if it's something you are interested in.
… (lisätietoja)
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Ape | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 11, 2012 |


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