Epidemiology/Infectious Diseases (Bugs, bugs, bugs!)


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Epidemiology/Infectious Diseases (Bugs, bugs, bugs!)

Editat: des. 15, 2007, 8:58 pm

I'm a retired epidemiologist and I read both "popular" and "professional" books on these two subjects. Here are some of my favorites.


A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (F)
The Plague Tales by Ann Benson (F)
Burning Road by Ann Benson (F)


Control of Communicable Diseases Manual (NF)
Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World--Told from Inside by Ken Alibek (NF)
The disease detectives: Deadly medical mysteries and the people who solved them by Gerald Astor (NF)
And the Waters Turned to Blood. The ultimate biological threat by Rodney Barker (Pfisteria, NF)
The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History by John M. Barry (NF)
In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made by Norman F. Cantor (NF)
Disease and History by Frederick F. Cartwright (NF)
America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918 Alfred W. Crosby (NF)
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (NF)
A Dictionary of Epidemiology by Howard Fast (Textbook NF)
Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth Anne Fenn (NF)
Fever!: The hunt for a new killer virus by John Grant Fuller (Lassa Fever, NF)
Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health by Laurie Garrett (NF)
The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett (NF)
Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak by Jeanne Guillemin (NF)
The great mortality : an intimate history of the Black Death, the most devastating plague of all time by John Kelly (NF)
Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It by Gina Kolata
Foundations of Epidemiology by David E. Lilienfeld (Textbook NF)
Plague Wars: The Terrifying Reality of Biological Warfare by Tom Mangold (NF)
Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC by Joseph M.D. McCormick (NF)
Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War by Judith Miller
Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Paul Monette (NF)
Boswell's Clap and Other Essays: Medical Analyses of Literary Men's Afflictions by William B. Ober (NF)
Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World by C.J. Peters (NF)
The Invisible Invaders: The Story of the Emerging Age of Viruses by Peter Radetsky
Virus Ground Zero: Stalking the Killer Viruses with the Centers for Disease Control by Ed Regis (NF)
The Virus Within: A Coming Epidemic by Nicholas Regush (Herpes, NF)
Deadly Feasts: Tracking The Secrets Of A Terrifying New Plague by Richard Rhodes (Prion disease, NF)
Dirt and disease : polio before FDR by Naomi Rogers (NF)
Rethinking Aids The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus by Robert S. Root-Bernstein (NF)
The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 Charles E. Rosenberg (NF)
Modern Epidemiology by Kenneth J. Rothman (Textbook, NF)
The Medical Detectives (Plume) Berton Roueche (NF)
Eleven Blue Men and Other Narratives of Medical Detection by Berton Roueche (NF)
Virus X: Tracking the New Killer Plagues--Out of the Present & Into the Future by Frank Ryan (NF)
The Forgotten Plague: How the Battle Against Tuberculosis Was Won - And Lost by Frank Ryan
And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts (AIDS, NF)
Yellow fever in Galveston, Republic of Texas, 1839: An account of the great epidemic Ashbel Smith (NF)
Foodborne and Waterborne Diseases: Their Epidemiologic Characteristics by I. Jackson Tartakow (NF)
The Evolution of Infectious Disease by Paul Ewald (NF)

If anyone has read any of these, I'd love to hear what you thought of them. Also, what have I missed?

Editat: gen. 10, 2007, 9:56 pm

Thanks for that list, I see a couple titles to look out for.

I've read about a dozen of your list, starting in grade school, when my favorite teacher got me started on the Roueches, beginning with Eleven Blue Men. I love them still.

Somewhat related to Boswell's Clap, there's a similar book on neurology called Toscanini's Fumble.

Fiction: one of my favorite books in the world is I am thinking of my darling, about the impact of a relatively benign epidemic that reaches New York City, and how the outbreak affects the functioning of the city. Highly recommended.

gen. 10, 2007, 10:03 pm

Oh - and in The New Yorker of Nov. 6, 2006, there's a review of a new re-telling of John Snow and the Broad Street pumphandle: The Ghost Map, a book which is now on my wishlist.

gen. 10, 2007, 10:05 pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

gen. 11, 2007, 12:59 am

Thanks, ___Bob

I had not heard of any you mention (now that I'm retired I don't hear of as many) and I still have a gift certificate . . .

gen. 11, 2007, 1:45 am

Check out this review of the McHugh:


It seems like it should be right up your alley. I've spent a career working in public health, but I'd love to hear what a real epidemiologist makes of it.

Oh, and if you liked the Bensons, you should certainly check out Connie Willis' Doomsday Book: a contemporary historian time-travels to 14th C England, but accidentally lands in the middle of the Black Death.

gen. 18, 2007, 8:45 am

Thanks a lot for the list! I have always been interested in the subject and always looking for suggestions.

One book I picked up reccently and would like to know your opinion of is The River : A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS. I know this book is controversial and not accepted by very many scientists, but I have to read it for myself. I think many scientists are rejecting this theory to easily without looking at enough evidence. William Hamilton actually went to Africa to investigate the claim, but unfortunately died of malaria shortly after arriving.

So, I would love the opinion of an actual epidemiologist even though I haven't yet read the book.


gen. 18, 2007, 7:22 pm


Great list. Somewhat peripherally, I would recommend Carl Zimmer's Parasite Rex for an engaging, informal review of parasitism, parasites and the people that love them.

gen. 18, 2007, 8:34 pm

Even though it's considered a bit dated, I would still recommend McNeill's Plagues and Peoples. It's an outline of the effect of disease on history, broken down into two threads. The first, what he calls "micro"-parasitism, deals with traditional disease and which I thought was well done. The second, "macro"-parasitism, examines human groups / institutions from the viewpoint of a host - parasite relationship.

Of course, I'm a total layman in both history and epidemiology so experts may just enjoy tearing apart his conclusions.

Editat: gen. 27, 2007, 11:17 pm

Thanks to all of you who have posted new fodder for me. I haven't read any of them yet, but as soon as I can get my hands on them I will. May take some time, but, I'll be b-a-a-a-ck -- to report in.

I'm currently reading Ann Benson's fictional account of the world in our times after a pandemic of staph aureus and of the 14th century after the plague--a series, this one called The Physician's Tale.

I'm going to go searching on Ebay and on Overstock for some of these that you all have mentioned.

gen. 27, 2007, 6:54 pm

I managed to find Parasite Rex and The Ghost Map on Overstock today. It will be a while before they get here.

I also found The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS (which I would very much like to read because I was an HIV epidemiologist--unfortunately that one costs ninety-something dollars for a paperback copy and around $129 for a hardback, even on EBay, so I'm going to have to wait and try the library on that one. Or maybe the health department library.

gen. 27, 2007, 9:23 pm

I agree. The hardcopy I bought was an ex-library that I picked up for around $50. It's too bad that it's out of print.

There is a documentary film based on the book. I believe it is called The River as well. This may be easier and cheaper to get a hold of?

Good Luck

feb. 25, 2007, 12:56 pm

Someone has started an "Epidemiology" group - we could migrate over there....

feb. 26, 2007, 10:43 am

My day job is as a microbiologist in a research lab. The facility I work at is just completing a large P4 lab --one of the sites chosen to get a P4 as part of Bush's 'War on Terrorism'.

Anyhow the most recent book I've read on the subject was The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston about the eradication of smallpox and the ethics of continuing to keep stocks of it available; although the book also wanders over to ebola, too. It's written for the lay person, but scientifically I thot it was pretty accurate.

març 2, 2007, 11:22 pm


Thanks to As you know, Bob for pointing me here. I'm getting chills over that booklist. Thanks Sharonk21, you just gave me my Christmas wishlist.

març 3, 2007, 6:09 pm

I recently read the book Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, which is young-adult fiction in which vampirism is actually caused by a parasite. Kind of silly, but an interesting idea, scientifically pretty darn accurate, and a good break from the non-fiction. :)

març 25, 2007, 12:04 am

I've read a bker's dozen. The only one I will comment on is The Coming Plague. I really couldn't make myself read the whole thing, because I found her to be an abominable writer!

set. 17, 2007, 4:52 pm

I read The Ghost Map which is the story of John Snow and how he mapped out the cholera epidemic in London. I was a little disappointed in it. It wasn't terrible or anything but just not as exciting as I think his story really was. If anyone else read it I would be interested in hearing what you thought.

Editat: oct. 17, 2007, 4:20 pm

This is a great list. Some additional books that I have enjoyed, but don't see on your list include:

Yellow Fever Black Goddess: The Coevolution of People and Plagues by Christopher Wills
The Kiss of Death: Chaga's Disease in the Americas
Plague Time: How Infections Cause Cancers, Heart Disease, and Other Deadly Ailments by Paul Ewald
The Archaeology of Disease by Charlotte Roberts and Keith Manchester
The Myth of Syphilis:The Natural History of Treponematosis in North America by Mary Lucas Powell and Della Collins Cook
The Columbian Exchange:Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 by Alfred W. Crosby
Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics, and History by Mary Kilbourne Matossian
Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest, 1492-1650 by Noble David Cook
Secret Judgments of God : Old World Disease in Colonial Spanish America by Noble David Cook
A Pest In The Land:New World Epidemics in a Global Perspective by Suzanne Austin Alchon
Digging for Pathogens:Ancient Emerging Diseases - Their Evolutionary, Anthropological and Archaeological Context by Charles L. Greenblatt
Epidemics and History: Disease, Power and Imperialism by Sheldon Watts
Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 by Alfred W. Crosby
The Black Death by Phillip Ziegler
The Great Plague in London in 1665 by Walter George Bell

Thanks for sharing your list!

nov. 10, 2007, 3:17 am

(1) SharonK -- Excellent list. I have read many of these. Particularly liked Laurie Garrett's books, also the AIDs memoir by Paul Monette and Shilts' book. I also recommend the Dictionary of Epidemiology; this is a good resource for helping to comprehend epidemiological studies.

I noticed your list did not include The Hot Zone--I found this a good quick read.

Have you found any good books discussing Mad Cow disease or prion diseases generally?

nov. 10, 2007, 7:28 am

US and Canadian pandemic flu plans:


(Jesse_wiedinmyer advises that there's an essay in The Best American Science Writing 2006 that deals with the topic.)

Editat: des. 15, 2007, 9:56 pm

Sorry I have been gone so long. In March, I got a new pair of glasses that miraculously made it much easier to read, so I have been indulging in an orgy of books rather than logging on.

Thank you all for all of your suggestions.

Johnnylogic, I did get Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer and it really made an impression on me. Every so often, I would get creeped out enough to where I would have to stop reading. (Don't know why that is since I have long been used to thinking of myself as an ecosystem for various other critters). Nevetheless, he makes a convincing case for parasites actually BEING Rex, in an evolutionary sense.

Leel, sorry I disagree on Laurie Garrett. I was so entranced that I read every footnote!

AsYouKnow_Bob, I got the I Am Thinking of My Darling and liked it--but found the slightly flippant tone somewhat disconcerting. Guess I am used to the subject being treated with too much sober and portentious high drama. or as--TA DA--"Epidemiologist As Hero."

BarbN, I can't believe I left The Hot Zone off the list. Great catch.

Streamsong, I want to read that! (The Demon in the Freezer).

Joancos, Yes, The Ghost Map was a little bit low key considering the subject but still, I thought, well worth reading.

HMOKeefe, a thousand thanks for all those books you listed. I keep a list in Word of books I hope to get and those are going in it untouched.

I have some new ones to recommend also:

The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby. This covers mainly the great epidemic that killed 5,000 in Memphis TN plus Walter Reed's studies in Cuba.

BarbN--I just read The Family That Couldn't Sleep about a month ago. It is by D.T. Max and although it is mainly about prion disease inherited on a familial basis it also covers a lot of other things about prion disease.

Also just ordered David M. Oshinsky's Polio: An American Story.

Editat: des. 15, 2007, 9:49 pm

Glad you liked I am thinking of my darling. Yes, it's certainly flippant - but it's told from a perspective slightly to one side of the public health response.

It's certainly not as much of a downer as, say, another book about Marburg.

(Come to think of it, the McHugh was made into an even more flippant movie - with Mary Tyler Moore, no less - which I might have seen as a kid, but I don't have any real memories of that. Maybe I'll try to find a copy to watch it again.)

Edited to add: the 1968 MTM/George Peppard movie of the McHugh is called "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?", and doesn't seem to be currently available in any format.

des. 15, 2007, 10:10 pm

Oh, by the way, Bob, I got the fiction work, The Doomsday Book and really enjoyed it.

Have also read two more in fiction by Ann Benson: The Physician's Tale and Thief of Souls.

Additionally, Ken Follett's World Without End--the second in his series of novels about a cathedral town in England treats the first coming of the plague to Europe.

And back to nonfiction: I meant to order Toscani's Fumble by Klawens and hit the wrong key and instead got his Newton's Madness. Enjoyed it though and still have the other one on my book wish list.

des. 15, 2007, 10:17 pm

Yes, the Willis is so good that it's harrowing to read.

des. 16, 2007, 4:38 am

Also good is Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog -- a similar premise, but rather different tone (and completely unrelated to the ostensible topic of this thread).

des. 16, 2007, 8:46 am

This is a kind of "which book is it" - posting:
a few years ago a pharmaceutical company producing an antiinfluenza-substance distributed a novel where the Spanish flu played a major role.
It was about scientists / military trying to get at the virus that caused the Spanish flu in the early 20th century. To this end they unearthed some corpses that had died of the flu in some polar region - and had been buried (and frozen) in arctic/antarctic ice.
It was a fictional account, but very grippingly written.
Unfortunately when I was through reading I threw the copy away - and would like to reread it now :-)
Any idea what the title of the novel / author is?
Kind regards


Editat: des. 16, 2007, 7:32 pm

PSooOregonobsessionz--I really want to get the plague book you mentioned--I had no idea y. pestis was ever there--further I looked it up on Overstock and it seems to be about the period in which my grandparents lived there--so it may be first on my list to get.

Does anyone understand why when I try to make the books in the original list Touchstones, it freaks out and jumps around but doesn't load them or highlight them???? Driving me crazy--I went to all that trouble checking and putting brackets in and yet get only minor results. Grrrr.

Cnrenner--I can't think of any fiction with that plot but it sounds a lot like Gina Kolata's book on the flu.

Also, I just found a book that I picked up at Goodwill some time ago and forgot I had--so haven't read it yet. Man and Microbes: Disease and Plagues in History and Modern Times by Arno Karlen.

març 14, 2008, 3:49 pm

Oh, I really enjoyed The Coming Plague. After reading it I felt like a fool, because I had been avoiding it because I thought the title was too dramatic and that it implied a speculative look at future threats, rather than the history that it really is. It was amazing to see how incompetently humans have handled most past health threats.

març 22, 2008, 12:43 pm

I can add a couple on the historical side (nonfiction). Neither is easy to come by (disclaimer: I sell old books in my retirement from public health), but both are short and interesting. Both by Major Greenwood. "Epidemiology: Historical and Experimental, The Herter Lectures, 1931," and "Medical Statistics from Graunt to Farr, The Fitzpatrick Lectures for 1941 & 1943."

maig 24, 2008, 1:22 pm

Yes the The Hot Zone was a favorite of mine and a good save for this list. Maybe I missed it but I didn't notice And the Band Played on mentioned. It's a bit gross at times (oh that's right, this whole topic is a bit gross!) but I though it was an excellent epidemiological thriller.

maig 24, 2008, 2:08 pm

I thought Beating Back the Devil by Maryn McKenna gave interesting insight on how the CDC works. Not sure how accurate a portrayl it is, but a good read nonetheless.

maig 24, 2008, 7:43 pm

I loved The Coming Plague too. It was so informative and very easy for a layperson to understand.

I also saw the documentary called the River, that was mentioned at the start of the thread. It was very compelling about what went on with the vaccine and the camp where they kept the monkeys to use.

I saw it on cable on one of the independent film channels. It too is out of print I think. There were threats of lawsuits that frightened both the book and movie people away I think.

There is also a web site that shows various independent documentaries for free. You just have to sign up. It had the documentary too. Unfortunately I lost the url of the site, when my hard drive crashed a while ago.

Editat: juny 10, 2009, 6:24 pm

Seriously. Leel said she was an "abominable " writer. I found her writing in The Coming Plague brilliant. Thoroughly enjoyed her Betrayal of Trust also. I thought they were both very well written, easy to follow, and had great insights.

Not sure if anyone mentioned Secret Agents: The Menace of Emerging Infections by Madeline Drexler, but that one is a great read. I also very much enjoyed The Great Influenza and Virus X. I recently enjoyed (and was very frightened by) Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory.

Editat: jul. 20, 2008, 9:02 pm

That would be Contagion but it's not too friendly to epidemiologists . . . the hero was a pathologist, and the only epi person he dealt with was an obstacle. I wasn't really impressed.

I would add to the list of books Innumeracy and The Tipping Point for their usefulness in explaining some issues to laymen.

jul. 21, 2008, 2:48 am

Did someone already mention Rats, Lice and History? It's a somewhat older book published in 1934 dealing with the origins of typhus and syphilis and their impact on history. It's still very interesting and very well written too.

ag. 26, 2008, 8:21 am

I not only enjoyed The Coming Plague from a laymans perspective but I had the oportunity of hearing Laurie Garrett speak about public health in the former Soviet Union; she was informative and interesting as a speaker and quite approachable when I asked her a question after the lecture.

ag. 28, 2008, 12:45 pm

I heard her speak here at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, shortly after reading the book. It was a really interesting talk about bird flu, and the possibility that the lowered immune systems of African AIDS patients would allow the virus time enough to adapt human to human transmission. Certainly a scary thought, and a reminder that the conditions of humans anywhere on the planet can eventually impact our own health.

set. 28, 2008, 11:14 am

I have read The Ghost Map and found it absolutely fascinating.

set. 28, 2008, 11:35 am

I found on-line a used copy of The River: A Journey Back to the source of HIV and Aids in the UK for a reasonable price. It took about a month for me to get it, because Alibris shipped it from London to Nevada and then to me in NH ?? I have not started it yet. Its about 1100 pages, so it will be a long time commitment.

I also found a web site about the issue that the author hosts.


It has the documentary that you can watch on-line.

oct. 1, 2008, 6:01 pm

Although it's somewhat dated, William McNeill's "Plagues and Peoples" is a pretty good core stool for your (I'm impressed!) solid list. Jared Diamond stole some of the spotlight on these subjects with "Guns, Germs & Steel" but it's still worth a read.
Also, more recent is a section in Charles Mann's survey "1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus" on the epidemiologies of the major epidemics that surged across the Americas in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. (Including thoughts on the evolution of syphilis.) One intriguing recent finding with the increasing insights into DNA: there may have been a critical genetic gap in New World immigrant populations (an artifact of small-population founder effect) that left them especially vulnerable to epizootic-origin diseases like smallpox.

oct. 1, 2008, 6:08 pm

Maybe I missed it but I didn't notice And the Band Played on mentioned.

Read. This. Book.

Editat: oct. 5, 2008, 8:13 pm

thanks for the list. i am a medical student.
i loved And the played on.

also a book. IN MY OWN COUNTRY by abraham verghese

anything by adam d(g)ershowitz. malaria capers especially.

www.webarchive.org - the wayback machine. theres an article on there about the plague in the 15th or 16th century.

oct. 5, 2008, 8:08 pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

oct. 13, 2008, 8:28 pm

This is a reply to cnrenner in message 28.

There are abstracts on pubmed.gov retrieved by searching "sequencing Spanish influenza".
If I understand correctly, the DNA has been recovered from Alaskan permafrost preserved bodies, sequenced, and studied.
Science and history have overrun the fiction you are asking about.
As an informed layman I may have important details incorrect.

des. 2, 2008, 3:54 pm

i am a med student. i would like to find this epi group...where is it?

des. 2, 2008, 4:41 pm

anybody know if the smallpox vaccine is for life?

des. 2, 2008, 4:51 pm

It's not. I've heard various periods for full protection - 10 years, 20 years, but everyone seems to agree that the older it is the less likely it's efficacy.

If you're going to be working with smallpox virus, I'd get re-vaccinated.

If you're writing a story with a character who has been vaccinated and gets exposed to smallpox, you could go either way. Results seem to vary by individual, so your character could be either protected or not, depending on the demands of your plot.

des. 2, 2008, 5:22 pm

no. i am reading the demon in the freezer...

des. 2, 2008, 5:35 pm

Ah . . . that book tempted me to go out and get re-vaccinated . . .

des. 3, 2008, 7:21 pm

me too. do you know how long the smallpox vaccine lasts? i am sure i have had it, but when i was very young. there should be a mass revaccination of everyone i think. what an achievement to even have that vaccine.

des. 3, 2008, 7:22 pm

me too. do you know how long the smallpox vaccine lasts? i am sure i have had it, but when i was very young. there should be a mass revaccination of everyone i think. what an achievement to even have that vaccine.

des. 3, 2008, 7:58 pm

I've heard various estimates from 10 years to 20 years to more than that. It might vary from person to person. Of course, there isn't enough vaccine available to vaccinate or re-vaccinate everyone, so only people working in labs and people with influence can get it. As I'm not one of those people. I'm settling for hoping I'll be one of those who retains immunity or that smallpox will never get out into the wild again.

des. 3, 2008, 7:59 pm

I've heard various estimates from 10 years to 20 years to more than that. It might vary from person to person. Of course, there isn't enough vaccine available to vaccinate or re-vaccinate everyone, so only people working in labs and people with influence can get it. As I'm not one of those people, I'm settling for hoping I'll be one of those who retains immunity or that smallpox will never get out into the wild again.

edited for punctuation

des. 3, 2008, 9:27 pm

if i am a medical student does that mean " i am one of influence?" lol

des. 9, 2008, 11:59 am

Vaccination is not without side-effects, so it's best not to vaccinate unless necessary. Unless there is a credible and imminent threat, smallpox vaccination isn't a good idea.

feb. 8, 2009, 2:39 am

I agree with epivet. Smallpox vaccinations have probably more potential side effects than most other kinds of immunizations. You have to balance your likelihood of ever running into smallpox with what might happen to you if you get the vaccine. Since your likelihood of being exposed to smallpox is infinitesimally small unless at least one case is reported in your area, it is not worth it. Ring vaccination only plus vaccination for people on bioterror teams, public health types etc.

jul. 19, 2009, 11:33 pm

Wow I'm two years late on this message but how about any of Robert Desowitz books?

des. 3, 2009, 9:41 pm

I'm even later, but can we continue this on the epidemiology group? It could use the action.

des. 11, 2009, 12:03 pm

One book I would recommend that EVERYONE AVOID is "Emerging Viruses: Aids and Ebola", by Leonard Horowitz... unless you are into very non-scientific conspiracy theories.

Of note however, is the impact which this book has had... many Middle Eastern countries, and even Indonesia have grasped on to Horowitzs' ravings and use them to resist important vaccine programs.

One fantastic book that I do recommend that I haven't seen mentioned yet is, "Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe" by William Rosen.

A wonderful combo of epidemiology and ancient history.

des. 14, 2009, 10:01 pm

justinian's flea sounds great. One more for my list to check out of the University library and read after exams.

gen. 23, 2011, 10:28 pm

I am new to this board, but I thought I'd say that Randy Shilts' And the Band Played On is on my list of top 5 books ever read.


gen. 23, 2011, 10:28 pm

I am new to this board, but I thought I'd say that Randy Shilts' And the Band Played On is on my list of top 5 books ever read.


feb. 12, 2011, 9:07 pm

I'm with you on that, PokPok. That was one of the best Public Health/Epidemiological detective stories of all time.

Editat: feb. 12, 2022, 7:44 pm

Calling all librarians -- a forthcoming new non-fiction title on the COVID-19 pandemic will be published in the USA by Simon & Schuster on October 4, 2022:


Its author is the one and only US science writer David Quammen. This time, he interviewed nearly 100 scientists, including many virologists, about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, its features, the science community's response, and its likely points of origin. His science books are highly accurate, highly readable, and are designed for the general public. In addition, they contain comprehensive References sections for those looking for more on specific topics.

Hardcover, 352 p. $28.99 ISBN-10: 1982164360

ISBN-13: 978-1982164362

Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat A Deadly Virus

Editat: març 7, 2022, 1:18 pm

From today's international journal Nature, brain changes noted in people recovered from COVID-19:


For the lay public, there's also a summary article on that journal finding in today's NYTimes.

If that data holds up over time, it may become a powerful new incentive for the public to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

abr. 11, 2022, 5:38 pm

From the April 1 issue of the journal Nature Communications, a study of higher primates infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus:


New infection mechanisms and pathways are identified for the central nervous system. One goal is to determine whether these discoveries support a professional consensus on an animal model for COVID-19.

Editat: juny 22, 2022, 3:19 pm

In June 2022, a new and rapid COVID-19 test is announced by a Canadian scientist:


It is a saliva-based test that looks for the DNA aptamer present in the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its virus variants. No word yet on whether the US FDA will grant an emergency authorization for this test.

In April 2022, the US FDA did grant emergency approval for a COVID-19 diagnostic breath test for a portable suitcase-sized device. Link:


jul. 7, 2022, 9:19 am

Some good news from Caltech about the COVID-19 pandemic:


jul. 7, 2022, 6:57 pm

>70 MaureenRoy: That's great if it works! I am just waiting for an Omicron-specific vaccine. I have heard it will be out by fall, but I don't know what that means.

Editat: jul. 21, 2022, 6:22 pm

Very late on the evening of Wednesday, July 20th, 2022, the international journal Science (in Science Advances) published an article on an added mechanism for how the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the human body. The route they focus on is via the human nose, from there to the olfactory bulb (next to the brain) ... at that point the virus builds nanotubes so it can enter human neuron cells, which explains how some of the neurology effects of Long COVID get started. Link:


This report may also put to rest the debate on whether or not a virus is living. Via this article, we see that SARS-CoV-2 is not only tool using, but it is also tool making.

jul. 21, 2022, 5:43 pm

>70 MaureenRoy: Work like this is very encouraging. They don’t use the term “pancoronavirus vaccine” or “universal coronavirus vaccine “, but this is moving in that direction.

jul. 21, 2022, 5:44 pm

>72 MaureenRoy: This is another reason to be developing nasal vaccines, which may stop the virus before it can enter the body. Nanotubes into human neurons: quite a disturbing image!

jul. 21, 2022, 5:48 pm

>71 krazy4katz: Yes, not sure a variant-chasing vaccine approach will be effective in a continually mutating situation. BA.5 is already different enough from the original omicron that one doubts a vaccine based on the original will be all that effective for the current variant, or that BA.5 Will even be the circulating variant when it comes out in …November (?)

jul. 22, 2022, 12:12 pm

So much for face-masks.

jul. 22, 2022, 12:54 pm

>76 proximity1: I think face masks still work to reduce the level of transmission (i.e., the amount of viral intake), which may affect how sick someone gets. To be really sure, the N-95s are the best. However, I still wear the blue surgical masks under most circumstances.

Editat: jul. 23, 2022, 11:07 am

>77 krazy4katz: You're welcome to think so but, if they could, nano-tube-constructing viruses, the sizes of which are measured in microns (Micrometres), would laugh their nano-tubes off at that belief.

..."The nearest smaller common SI unit is the nanometre ("a millionth of a micron "), equivalent to one one-thousandth of a micrometre, or one billionth of a metre (0.000000001 m).
(emphasis added)

..."the N-95s are the best."


"However, I still wear the blue surgical masks under most circumstances."

Of course you do.

Had you lived in the 13th or 14th century, you'd be wearing garlands of garlic and other talismans and keeping a jar of leeches in your cupboard.

jul. 23, 2022, 12:06 pm

>78 proximity1: It would be appreciated if you dropped the condescending and insulting tone, not the least because it is entirely unwarranted. Needless to say, not providing absolute protection does not equal no protection at all. Yet, we are not calling you a flat-Earther incapable of reasoning.

Editat: jul. 23, 2022, 12:27 pm

>79 SandraArdnas:

What you refer to as " the condescending and insulting tone" in my comment is, of course, your opinion, about them--to which, as elsewhere above, you're entitled. I neither insulted nonsensical contentions nor condescended in my comment.

Call me a "flat-Earther" if you like, for all I care. I don't, as a matter of fact, contend that the Earth is other than (to creatures of our magnitude) a "large" spherical "globe"-like planet. Again, facts matter here--or there's no point in "Talk: Science", is there?

RE: "Needless to say, not providing absolute protection does not equal no protection at all. Yet, we are not calling you a flat-Earther incapable of reasoning."

While that's true as a fact, it's not pertinent to either my own comment or that to which I'd replied in >78 proximity1:. In the present case, I do contend that, for all practical purposes, wearing a face-covering of whatever material in the belief and expectation that it can and does effectively prevent air-borne viral infection does "equal" what may rightly be described as "no protection at all."

Again, despite vastly many people's believing that, (as I granted they're entitled to do) it does not make it true in fact.

Which objective facts in my comment do you dispute?

jul. 23, 2022, 1:01 pm

>80 proximity1: I dispute your tone first and foremost, even though we are to pretend insinuating superstition is not condescending and insulting. There was no call for it whatsoever. You could have just as well stated you claims without it and we'd all get the same 'objective facts', just without the personal note.

I'm not interested in discussing for several rounds the minutiea of what level of protection can be expected and where do we draw a line for useless. Suffice it to say that masks are not worn just to protect yourself and airborne is not the only concern.

Editat: jul. 23, 2022, 3:24 pm

>81 SandraArdnas:

Yeah, we're done, alright. I have no intention of further reading of or responding to your posts.

You can help save us the trouble by refraining from addressing comments to or about me or my participation here.

jul. 23, 2022, 6:34 pm

A study about mask effectiveness showed that -
"We found that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks all have a protective effect with respect to the transmission of infective droplets/aerosols of SARS-CoV-2 and that the protective efficiency was higher when masks were worn by a virus spreader."
See https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/mSphere.00637-20

Editat: jul. 28, 2022, 10:33 am

>83 wcarter:

..."have a protective effect with respect to the transmission of infective droplets/aerosols of SARS-CoV-2 and that the protective efficiency was higher when masks were worn by a virus spreader"...

(from your source(s) / (emphasis added below) )

..."Importantly, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) were not able to completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when completely sealed. Our data will help medical workers understand the proper use and performance of masks and determine whether they need additional equipment to protect themselves from infected patients.

IMPORTANCE Airborne simulation experiments showed that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks provide some protection from the transmission of infective SARS-CoV-2 droplets/aerosols; however, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) could not completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when sealed.

The potential for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission via infective (sic) (i.e. infectious) droplets and aerosols (1), coupled with guidelines from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html) and WHO (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks) recommending the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of CoV disease 2019 (COVID-19), prompted us to evaluate the protective efficiency of face masks against airborne transmission of infectious SARS-CoV-2 droplets/aerosols." ...


"Masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives; the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection against COVID-19.

"If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue. Check local advice where you live and work. Do it all!

"Make wearing a mask a normal part of being around other people. The appropriate use, storage and cleaning or disposal of masks are essential to make them as effective as possible.

"Here are the basics of how to wear a mask:

"Clean your hands before you put your mask on, as well as before and after you take it off, and after you touch it at any time.

"Make sure it covers both your nose, mouth and chin.

"When you take off a mask, store it in a clean plastic bag, and every day either wash it if it’s a fabric mask, or dispose of a medical mask in a trash bin.

"Don’t use masks with valves.

these prescriptions entail the constant, continual carrying and use of antibacterial cleansers--wipes, gels, etc.--at all times once out of bed.

every touch, every adjustment, of the mask is supposed to prompt a fresh hand-sanitation. Daily washing/disinfection of reusable masks is essential. Reuse of disposal masks does not support effective "prevention" at all.

You cannot honestly contend that you faithfully follow these guidelines. Do you carry multiple disposable masks with you everywhere? Do you disinfect your hands between taking off a mask and fishing out of your pocket a "fresh" (sterile) one? Is your carried supply in a sterile container where it remains free of contamination?

In other words, have you converted your daily life to fit and match the conditions of a sterile operating theatre? scrubbed, gloved, masked at all times?

The vast majority of, the near-totality of the general population neither can nor shall faithfully follow these guidelines. That makes them simply inapt, unfit for general purpose life the real world outside of sterile laboratory environments--where we actually live our daily lives.

But that's irrelevant anyway when the fact is that the airborne virus can and does pass through, over and around any and all face-coverings because its size makes all masks permeable to the virus. Unless you cease breathing common air with those in your immediate vicinity, you're going to inhale the same air which they inhale and exhale.

These are kindergarten-level facts of epidemiology.

The medical profession, now largely captive of the same corporate forces and powers which also dominate mass-media, have and continue to betray their professional duties of care and honesty to the general public by commission of false and misleading statements or omission of corrective explanations to widely believed nonsense.

But there's a separate reason it's irrelevant:

by now, there's virtually no one, barring new-borns, living in the world--as this site's readership knows and thinks of that--who has not been repeatedly exposed to this virus and who shall have any reasonable chance of perfectly avoiding other future exposures to both the form(s) to which they have already been exposed and to other successor strains--no matter what measures (short of taking up the life of a hermit). Those who insist on taking that course may, if they possess the means to achieve it, do as they please. But to expect others to adopt these degrees of supposed "safety" is not just wildly unrealistic, it's grossly unfair.

( Lord Jonathan Sumption, Freshfields Lecture, 2020)


... "The British public has not even begun to understand the seriousness of what is happening to our country. Many, perhaps most of them don’t care, and won’t care until it is too late. They instinctively feel that the end justifies the means, the motto of every totalitarian government which has ever been. Yet what holds us together as a society is precisely the means by which we do things. It is a common respect for a way of making collective decisions, even if we disagree with the decisions themselves. It is difficult to respect the way in which this government’s decisions have been made. It marks a move to a more authoritarian model of politics which will outlast the present crisis. There is little doubt that for some ministers and their advisers this is a desirable outcome. The next few years is likely to see a radical and lasting transformation of the relationship between the state and the citizen. With it will come an equally fundamental change in our relations with each other, a change characterized by distrust, resentment and mutual hostility. In the nature of things, authoritarian governments fracture the societies which they govern. The use of political power as an instrument of mass coercion is corrosive. It divides and it embitters. In this case, it is aggravated by the sustained assault on social interaction which will sooner or later loosen the glue that helped us to deal with earlier crises. The unequal impact of the government’s measures is eroding any sense of national solidarity. The poor, the inadequately housed, the precariously employed and the socially isolated have suffered most from the government’s. Above all, the young, who are little affected by the disease itself, have been made to bear almost all the burden, in the form of blighted educational opportunities and employment prospects whose effects will last for years. Their resentment of democratic forms, which was already noticeable before the epidemic, is mounting, as recent polls have confirmed.

"The government has discovered the power of public fear to let it get its way. It will not forget. Aristotle argued in his Politics that democracy was an inherently defective and unstable form of government. It was, he thought, too easily subverted by demagogues seeking to obtain or keep power by appeals to public emotion and fear. What has saved us from this fate in the two centuries that democracy has subsisted in this country is a tradition of responsible government, based not just on law but on convention, deliberation and restraint, and on the effective exercise of Parliamentary as opposed to executive sovereignty. But like all principles which depend on a shared political culture, this is a fragile tradition. It may now founder after two centuries in which it has served this country well. What will replace it is a nominal democracy, with a less deliberative and consensual style and an authoritarian reality which we will like a great deal less."

jul. 28, 2022, 1:46 am

About the mask thing, from my cumulative reading, including that above, it appears masks are only one part of the Covid prevention strategy with the vaccinations being the major portion of the defense. I was in & out of hospitals for treatment frequently during the height of Covid including before the shots were available. I wore gloves, mask and distanced myself. I had a neighbor pass away just before she became age eligible for the shots.

I know I resent maskless symptomatic appearing folks & try to avoid them.

jul. 28, 2022, 1:50 am

More nasty bugs!

“Bacterium that can cause deadly infections found in U.S. soil and water for the first time

The bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, was previously found only in Southern Asia, Africa and Australia. Infections can lead to a possibly fatal illness called melioidosis “


jul. 29, 2022, 4:47 pm

As of mid-2022, Earth may be months or years away from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The medical people in my family tell me that no or very limited exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, to whatever degree is possible, is still the way to go in order to avoid infection, re-infection, and any of the chronic devastating forms of that disease. Some masks are more protective than others, but none guarantee 100% protection. The 'diver's helmet' protective gear sometimes now seen in hospitals is used in Emergency Departments, ICUs, surgery suites, and other critical care units where patients must undergo intubation before going on a ventilator. Earlier theatrical versions of that protective gear for contained virus research labs was shown in Hollywood films like Contagion and the first Hollywood movie version of The Andromeda Strain.

A layered approach to avoiding infection, sometimes called the 'swiss cheese' model, using many potential types of protection -- sometimes together/sometimes not -- is still being recommended by WHO and independent medical experts on infectious disease such as Larry Brilliant, MD, PhD. US NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, MD, also demonstrated part of that layered approach for his staff when some employees remained afraid of working in the HIV containment lab in Bethesda, Maryland, in the 1980s and 90s; Dr. Fauci never became infected with HIV. US doctors I know of who developed SARS-CoV-2 infections this year were all accidentally exposed to the virus via family members who were unaware of their own infections. In 2022, *far* more transmissible virus variants of SARS-CoV-2 (now greater than or equal to the transmissibility of measles) continue to increase the risk of infection for those who are in contact with family members or who must enter public indoor or outdoor spaces, at least from time to time. And there are apparently even more transmissible virus variants to come.

Speaking of coronavirus evolution, on October 4th, 2022, US science writer David Quammen's new book on the SARS-CoV-2 virus Breathless: the scientific race to defeat a deadly virus (published by Simon & Schuster; NY,NY) will be published. He will appear in person at three venues (New York, Italy, Singapore) to introduce that book and answer questions. He interviewed almost 100 virologists while writing the book. And yes, as he mentions on his website, (www.davidquammen.com) ever since 2020 he spends most of his time at his Montana home. When he must travel in public, he wears a mask.

Participating in a public LT group is a privilege, not a right. I have seen personality conflicts in many different internet environments since the 1970s, an era when I had to initialize a deck of punchcards to get online. Before then or since, rudeness online has never impressed me as being necessary. I suggest the most important thing to remember is that online communication is a pale imitation of the effectiveness of in-person communication; so people may not always be as eloquent online as they in fact often are in person. If it's hard to always be polite here, at least give other participants the benefit of the doubt. I have no tolerance for intentional personal unkindness here. Also keep in mind that since science is an international endeavor, some of us may have English as a second language, or even have a learning/perception disability. If so, some of us are more fluent than others, but none of us are more equal than others.

During the first few months of 2020, I wore a surgical mask when out in public (given to me that year by an MD), because that was all that was available in California, until that summer, anyway.

Editat: jul. 30, 2022, 7:51 am

>87 MaureenRoy:

LibraryThing has no speech code per se. You can dispute ideas and words without limitation.*

Here, then, "without limitation" apparently means "no tolerance for (insert your idea of) intentional personal unkindness here" so that, "ideas and words" may not be disputed in any manner which you regard as "unkind"--to the disputed words or ideas.

You've just told us that you'll decide what is or isn't "kind" treatment in discussion and that your idea of kind treatment is to exercise "no tolerance". As always, the problem is that this shall always be completely vague and undefinable. So, whatever you don't happen to approve is liable to be designated as "unkind".

My own views of "unkind" include your own intentionally threatening tone. But you're obviously free to indulge in any convenient double-standard.

This site has for some time--years now--paid empty lip-service to an impoverished and basically useless idea of "free-expression". Your approach is in line with that.

I can see that, as in other closed forums, I won't be allowed to freely dispute "ideas and words" here.

You're apparently just waiting for whatever incident it is that you decide, on a whim, is unacceptably non-conformist

How does that qualify as "kind"?

jul. 30, 2022, 10:42 am

>88 proximity1: It really isn't that difficult to steer clear from personal remarks to others when discussing science since they don't have a much of a place in those discussions to begin with. We got back on track discussing science and lets keep it that way.

jul. 31, 2022, 11:01 am

By Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, Alex Standish What Should Schools Teach? (2nd Edition) | UCL Press 2021 |

This is a full-text, open-access, digital book.

Chapter 11: Biology
( (pp. 189-201)
Fredrik Berglund and Michael J. Reiss
https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv14t475s.18 )

Editat: ag. 1, 2022, 8:01 pm

The news journal Medical Express posted an article in the last few hours today, asking if children may have some inherent immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. I forwarded the article to Peter Hotez, MD, the US medical professor and author who, minutes later, thanked me for that news piece:


Editat: ag. 2, 2022, 12:37 pm

On the COVID-19 pandemic, the bad news is that it may continue at a pandemic level for several more years, say five years; if our species is really unfortunate, it's possible that it may continue for a total of ten years. Remember, the coronavirus family was only identified in 1968, and little research funding for its study has been granted since then, until SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 2020. What that means for our LT Science! group is that we have a *long* future in our pandemic coverage, so avoidable disagreement is not the way to go. I see the purpose of this Science! group being the sharing of news, especially book news. Starting today, take any opinion clashes to the LT Pro And Con group; that's what that group is for. (Font clarification: CLASHES)

The latest new book discussing pandemics recommends a variety of ways to bring pandemic planning into the global political process; it is recommended by leading US epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, MD, PhD:


ag. 2, 2022, 1:20 pm

>87 MaureenRoy: I've already preordered the Quammen--looking forward to it.

ag. 6, 2022, 12:02 pm

From DW News, a report on the planning for a number of new space stations in low Earth orbit. Some countries but mostly private groups are in the planning stages. Link:


All these recent space station developments remind me more than a little of the science fiction classic Gateway, by Frederick Pohl. That was the first novel in what became five books, w/ the series name of either Gateway Series or Heechee Saga.

set. 17, 2022, 4:23 pm

>93 Marissa_Doyle: With less than a month to go before Quammen's new Breathless is published, I pre-ordered 2 copies of the hardcover edition, so I don't have to share the book w/ my fiance ... I use many bookmarks with Quammen's books. Hence, the durability of hardcover is necessary so the book will survive many bookmarks + re-reading.

As a reader, my main question will be: What have we learned about the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

set. 21, 2022, 8:19 pm

My assumption is that this pandemic will eventually end ... a new book from the Rand Corporation asks, what then?


Editat: oct. 9, 2022, 11:48 pm

India facing a pandemic of antibiotics-resistant superbugs

….old story of antibacterial antibiotics being (ineffectively) taken for viral infections, much to the detriment of “the herd”


oct. 12, 2022, 11:17 am

I’m not a medical person but the two books I like that are written for laypersons are Murderous Contagion A Human History of Disease by Mary Dobson and The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum.

Editat: oct. 19, 2022, 11:39 am

Thank you for those suggestions. Daniel Dafoe's A Journal of the Plague Year, per https://www.gutenberg.org, is actually written considerably after the fact, cobbled together from data he collected afterward. From the introductory pages of that book I have read so far (free on their website), that is a plausible explanation. There is a feeling of stiffness about ... not the content but the context, with numerous unconnected facts thrown together, rather strange. Even its incorporation of materials apparently written by others does not account for that unique style.

I finished reading David Quammen's new book on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Breathless: the scientific race to defeat a deadly virus. It's the first non-fiction book in English for the general public to include analyses of numerous science pre-prints which explain the scope and purpose of those writings. That makes Breathless essential reading for non-virologists who want to maintain an understanding of the current pandemic. Breathless has also just been published in the Italian language, with several other translations in the works.

Editat: gen. 9, 2023, 4:20 pm

Natural substances that mount an effective anti-viral response to SARS-CoV-2 and at least some of its sub-variants:


gen. 18, 2023, 1:30 am

>100 MaureenRoy: So “ anti-viral response” means that it used after infection is detected rather than a preventative measure?

feb. 23, 2023, 8:12 pm

>101 DugsBooks: -- That is an interesting question. Let me also explain that my academic experience was at the UCLA School of Public Health, however I have worked in US medical and hospital environments for about 40 years total, before/during/after grad school. I have also become a student of the literature on healing powers of a number of natural foods. So, is the "anti-viral response" operational before or after an infection is detected? Ideally, it would be in place before the person is exposed to infection, so that the episode of sickness would be prevented. If the anti-viral material (such as raw organic ginger -- a food -- or a recommended supplement) is not in use at the time of disease exposure, however, then the natural, supplemental or prescribed pharmaceutical could be begun or prescribed in order to shorten the expected duration of the disease.

Editat: feb. 23, 2023, 8:36 pm

The WHO will be issuing a press statement on a current disease outbreak in the southeast region of Cambodia, as soon as WHO has compiled enough verified information. Within the last 48 hours, local and regional health offices in Cambodia have begun to report on an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza that spread to an initial human victim, a young girl, who later died in a hospital in the country's capital. That first human influenza illness apparently began shortly after 22 dead chickens and 3 dead ducks were found on the premises of the rural family's homestead. Lab tests for one of that family's children, a girl, reveal that her death was caused by H5N1 avian influenza. Four other people have now developed symptoms, and their lab test results will be announced on Friday, February 24, 2023. Fortune magazine currently has the most complete news article on these events:


The mortality rate for this type of illness is high, currently around 50%.

The best book I know of on the pandemic disease threat of influenza is The Fatal Strain. You can check WorldCat for available copies of the book in North America:


Here is the publisher's summary on that title. Be sure to take a look at the recommendations for this book, located near the bottom of that page, from US infectious disease professionals:


jul. 6, 2023, 4:34 pm

From the US non-profit group CIDRAP at the University of Minnesota, new COVID-19 testing for all animals:


ag. 29, 2023, 7:33 pm

My family member who is a medical doctor (Internal Medicine) recently asked me if I fear COVID-19. I replied, "I don't fear COVID, but I fear Long COVID." So I was grateful to see today's news discussion of a medical study recently published in The Lancet medical journal. An existing medication reduces the risk for current COVID-19 patients of later developing Long COVID. Link:


oct. 14, 2023, 7:42 pm

Many health care applications of AI have not yet panned out, but the following for the monitoring of viral outbreaks may be the exception that proves the rule:


oct. 14, 2023, 8:38 pm

>106 MaureenRoy: having some problems with the link….

oct. 20, 2023, 7:50 pm

I went to the Medical Xpress website, and at their search box typed in COVID AI and that same link was the fourth article in the resulting list. That search strategy should work for all.


nov. 2, 2023, 2:09 pm

Today's Medical Xpress news article shows that laboratory science is still alive and well in the United Kingdom:


nov. 2, 2023, 4:53 pm

>105 MaureenRoy: Same. This is the main reason I am still careful. That and the higher risk of heart attack and stroke in the post infection period.

nov. 5, 2023, 1:34 pm

Stellarexplorer, yessssss. I should also explain that my husband and are both in the highest-risk COVID-19 age group, those over age 75. Going forward, while following all the science on viruses and vaccines, I have yet to find any evidence that those in my age group can relax on the threat of COVID-19 infections. If I was 20-something with no other risk factors, I might have started shrugging off COVID risks by now. So there's that.

Editat: gen. 3, 4:03 pm

Happy New Year to all. Here's an important book on the eventual next influenza pandemic: Published in Canada in 2007, The Flu Pandemic and You: a Canadian Guide, written by two physicians, with a foreword by Margaret Atwood, can still be purchased in its paperback edition. It explains how a future influenza pandemic will differ from any other infectious disease outbreak, and how to prepare for it.

A number of the authors' recommendations are based on their direct experiences with the first SARS outbreak in Toronto, Canada in 2003, a sobering basis for their advice. Three Canadian health workers died during SARS, all becoming ill before the full range of infectious disease protocols could be put in place.

Its summary information on vaccines is outdated, since this book was written before the advent of mRNA vaccine technology, but it includes much pandemic advice I do not see elsewhere. These physician authors caution against the growing of long fingernails during a pandemic, saying that nails are difficult to keep fully clean; they advise against the use of artificial fingernails for similar reasons. (This data is on page 159.) In their chapter on home preparations for a pandemic, the suggested foods lists still make sense, but they recommend keeping a thermometer in the house, which nowadays means a handheld battery-operated temperature sensor; look for one that has one or more endorsements from professional medical groups.

Helpful details are given on the prescription flu medication Tamiflu, such as its five year shelf life. The active ingredient in Tamiflu is shikimic acid, which in recent years has been produced in synthetic form. Or, since the source for Tamiflu is an Asian spice, star anise, I bought an organic form of star anise from Bristol Farms market in southern California; star anise is a savory element in soups and stews. Prevention can taste good.

Examples are given of pandemic risks associated with domestic or agricultural raising of any poultry. (Ducks are the original source of the influenza virus.) For example, "at the time of this writing, over 200 human cases (of the H5N1 strain of influenza) have been confirmed in ten countries, and over 50% of these people have died." For those who live near a (or have their own) backyard poultry flock, the authors say, "avoid unnecessary contact with domestic poultry and wild birds." And, as the authors note on page 222, "human handlers of birds should all receive the annual influenza vaccine..."

The book's reference section includes links to many infectious disease outbreak guidelines posted by the governments of several different countries.

Editat: feb. 1, 12:21 pm

On the question of what effects drugs like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine had starting in 2020 as the SARS-CoV-2 virus ushered in the COVID-19 pandemic, here is a set of studies summarized in The Hill newspaper in Washington, DC:


Upwards of 30,000 deaths may have resulted when people took these drugs, starting at the beginning of the pandemic. At one of his White House press conferences during the US lockdown (also called "stay at home" orders), former US President Trump encouraged US residents to take hydrochloroquine, asking, "What have you got to lose?" Based on the science revealed in these studies, however, one could now reply that there were 30,000 reasons to *not* take hydroxychloroquine ... that's a lot of lost lives caused by placing policy over science.

Editat: feb. 21, 5:19 pm

The ability to assess the severity of any new SARS-CoV virus variant could quickly shorten the diagnostic process:


Editat: març 18, 5:33 pm

Our discussions in this thread will focus on major threats to human life, and related new prevention or treatment methods being introduced. In a report this morning, progress has been made in scientific protection against the influenza virus, one of the most ancient and most lethal viruses on Earth:


Published by the US-based Mayo Clinic Press in 2023, a 352-page paperback book reveals the memoir of a Minnesota country doctor who saved many lives in his rural community after the onset of the 1918 influenza pandemic:


Editat: març 18, 5:32 pm

A website named Politifact is now available for checking on controversies about COVID-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the like. It is funded through the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank.


Editat: març 22, 5:25 pm

A new test for tuberculosis can identify people who could transmit tuberculosis without having symptoms themselves:


Editat: abr. 9, 4:12 pm

Possible US disease transmission routes for the avian influenza virus now found in dairy cattle:


For those wondering about dietary substitutes for butter, if dairy butter comes under question in the future, I discovered during my 15 years on a macrobiotic protocol that organic sesame oil has an amazingly buttery flavor. I sometimes also use homemade tofu mayonnaise.

abr. 29, 6:30 pm

With a lot more now being discovered about the North American incidence of avian influenza -- specifically crossing over into mammals (dairy cattle, barn cats, and most recently a walrus), the following book by a microbiologist in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada could become the ready reference book of 2024:

The Germ Files explains in its household cleaning section that it takes on average 5 minutes to kill bacteria on surfaces, and requires 30 minutes to kill viruses on surfaces.

maig 2, 7:19 pm

An important new book on pandemic risk is about to be published in the UK:


Authors are Hiroshi Kase and Yoshikazu G. Mikawa. If any of you hear of a US publication date for that book, will you share that info with us in this thread, please? Thank you.

maig 7, 2:09 pm

WHO's new official finding that viruses can spread in the air:


maig 15, 12:05 pm

A physics journal gives an update on the North American spread of bird flu. Please also read the brief news article at the bottom of that report, written by an infectious disease physician in the USA:


maig 30, 12:13 pm

Editat: juny 17, 9:16 pm

On Tuesday, June 18, 2024, a new book by Anthony Fauci, MD, will be published: On Call: A Doctor's Journey in Public Service. Dr. Fauci, who is also a virologist, focuses on his life experience in the US public health system and at US Federal health agencies.

juny 19, 11:42 am

Ahir, 3:45 pm

Colorado declares an emergency after a bird flu outbreak:


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