Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague

Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague

4.8 8
by Richard Lee Rhodes, Barrett Whitener
     
 
In a non-fiction narrative that reads like a medical thriller, Richard Rhodes follows virus hunters on three continents as they track the emergence of a deadly new brain disease that first kills cannibals in New Guinea, then cattle and young people in Britain and France. Photos.

Overview

In a non-fiction narrative that reads like a medical thriller, Richard Rhodes follows virus hunters on three continents as they track the emergence of a deadly new brain disease that first kills cannibals in New Guinea, then cattle and young people in Britain and France. Photos.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"The U.S. still has a chance to avoid a BSE [bovine spongiform encephalopathy] epidemic" like the outbreak of "mad cow disease" that has ravaged the British cattle industry, warns this explosive report by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb). In Britain, Rhodes notes, BSE spread after lax government regulations permitted millions of cattle to ingest ruminant wastes by way of meat-and-bone meal, and evidence mounts that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a human variant of BSE, has already killed Europeans who ate infected beef. Both CJD and BSE belong to a strange new group of "slow virus diseases" (transmissable spongiform encephalopathies, or TSEs) that riddle the brain with holes, result in slow death and so far defy efforts to stop them. In cinematic fashion, Rhodes creates a complex, colorful and sometimes gory medical documentary, beginning with a 1950s-era cannibalism-induced epidemic of kuru (a fatal neurological disorder) in New Guinea, then jump-cutting to a San Francisco lab where, in 1983, biochemist Stanley Prusiner identified prions, or abnormal proteins, as the possible disease agent of TSEs, then moving on to a 1985 global outbreak of CJD in children with dwarfism who were injected with human growth hormone. Rhodes's important, gripping book ominously warns that unless the FDA bans and strinctly enforces that ban the feeding of ruminant protein to cattle, Americans could face its own plague of fatal brain diseases. Photos. BOMC and QPB alternate selections; first serial to Washington Post Magazine; author tour. (Mar.) FYI: Publication of Deadly Feasts has been moved up three months in order to inform public comment regarding a proposed ban, announced by the FDA in January, on the feeding of processed ruminant animal wastes to cattle.
Library Journal
The book on which this abridged audiobook is based is everything The Hot Zone (Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/94) could have been and is not: a reasoned but passionate, dramatic but not overwrought telling of the spread of a deadly new plague. The plague is a cluster of maladies known as prion diseases, which occur as a result of industrial animal cannibalism, as when cows are fed bone meal from the remains of dead cows and develop "mad cow" disease. Harrowing as the subject is, and devastating as these diseases are on their growing number of human victims, author/narrator Rhodes (Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, Audio Reviews, LJ 12/96) manages to make this reading of his research into the problem both topical and tantalizing, both grounded in fact and frightening. Rhodes's gravely voice adds interest as well. Highly recommended.Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, N.C.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780736637589
Publisher:
Books on Tape, Inc.
Publication date:
01/01/1997
Edition description:
Unabridged

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >