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Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service
Synopses & Reviews
Since its founding in 1951, the Epidemic Intelligence Service has waged war on every imaginable ailment. When an epidemic hits, the EIS will be there to crack the case, however mysterious or deadly, saving countless lives in the process. Over the years they have successfully battled polio, cholera, and smallpox, to name a few, and in recent years have turned to the epidemics killing us now—smoking, obesity, and gun violence among them.
The successful EIS model has spread internationally: former EIS officers on the staff of the Centers for Disease Control have helped to establish nearly thirty similar programs around the world. EIS veterans have gone on to become leaders in the world of public health in organizations such as the World Health Organization.
Inside the Outbreaks takes readers on a riveting journey through the history of this remarkable organization, following Epidemic Intelligence Service officers on their globetrotting quest to eliminate the most lethal and widespread threats to the worlds health.
"Plucky epidemiologists track the world's ailments in this hectic public health saga. Pendergrast (For God, Country and Coca-Cola) chronicles the exploits of the doctors, nurses, statisticians, and sociologists of the Centers for Disease Control's Epidemic Intelligence Service, who jet around investigating the causes and remedies of disease outbreaks from Alabama to Zaire. Looming large is the ever-present, life-threatening problem of diarrhea, whose outbreaks they trace variously to contaminated water, iffy tofu, and Oregon cultists who in 1984 sprinkled salmonella into restaurant salad bars. The investigators also take on more exotic cases, including Ebola outbreaks, the post-9/11 anthrax letters, and a grade-school itching epidemic that turned out to be mass hysteria. These epidemiologists have also led long campaigns to eradicate smallpox — in Pendergrast's telling, an epic struggle against both germs and cultural prejudices — and tried to abate social ills like smoking, obesity, and gun violence. There's not much story-telling frippery in Pendergrast's episodic six-decade narrative, just bare-bones accounts of barely individuated sleuths busting one microbial perp after another by collecting samples and conducting surveys. Still the scientific fight against these cunning, deadly pathogens makes for an often engrossing browse. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Although you've probably never heard of them, the officers of the Epidemic Intelligence Service have probably saved millions of lives over the last half-century. In this book, Pendergrast tells the story of how this little-known part of the Centers for Disease Control has waged war on every imaginable ailment, including successful battles against polio, cholera, and smallpox. This fascinating (if sometimes a bit scary) book takes readers through the history of the EIS, and brings them along with EIS officers as they go to some of the most dangerous parts of the globe as they fight the most lethal and widespread threats to the world's health. Prendergast knows how to tell a story well, and his book should have wide appeal. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A history of the Epidemic Intelligence Service from smallpox to smoking
About the Author
MARK PENDERGRAST is the author of four nonfiction books, including Uncommon Grounds: A History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World and Mirror, Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair with Reflection.
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