New York Times Deadly Invaders: Virus Outbreaks Around the World, from Marburn Fever to Avian Flu

Overview

An epidemic strikes the United States, plunging the country into chaos. New York Times medical reporter Denise Grady uses this terrifying scenario, taken from the pages of a U.S. government report on the potential outcome of a pandemic, as the starting point for a journey into the gripping world of emerging diseases.

In search of a better understanding of these often deadly diseases, Grady heads to Angola, the site of the 2005 Marburg virus epidemic, a disease closely related to...

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Overview

An epidemic strikes the United States, plunging the country into chaos. New York Times medical reporter Denise Grady uses this terrifying scenario, taken from the pages of a U.S. government report on the potential outcome of a pandemic, as the starting point for a journey into the gripping world of emerging diseases.

In search of a better understanding of these often deadly diseases, Grady heads to Angola, the site of the 2005 Marburg virus epidemic, a disease closely related to Ebola. On the ground, and sometimes frighteningly close to victims of the disease, Denise explores the realities of health care in the developing world, and its potential effects on our own welfare.

With supplemental sidebars that explain key scientific and social issues and in-depth chapters on the origins and spread of Marburg, avian flu, HIV, SARS, West Nile virus, hantavirus, and monkeypox, this is a fascinating look at the health dangers we face in a global society.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jane G. Van Wiemokly
In 2005, New York Times reporter Grady visited Uige, Angola, the site of a deadly outbreak of Marburg Fever, a highly contagious virus first discovered in 1967. Her account of the conditions in the hospital and country, the cautionary preparations necessary before even going near an infected person, the removal of contaminated clothing and equipment, and the Angolan customs that interfere with the isolation and anti-contamination procedures can be shocking. Considering that the Marburg death rate in Angola in 2005 was about 88 percent and that more and more deadly viruses are coming to light, this information should be a wake-up call to the world that viral epidemics can occur anywhere. Modern travel, lack of adequate health care and vaccines, tropical forest incursions, and new markets for exotic and imported foods and animals contribute to possible epidemics and pandemics. After a general discussion of emerging infectious threats, six other viruses besides Marburg are featured: Avian Flu, HIV and AIDS, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, West Nile, SARS, and Monkeypox. There are no footnotes, but a list of Internet resources to valid sites includes the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Grady's further reading consists of two book titles and slightly more than one hundred articles from the New York Times. More documentation and other sources would have benefited any student using this work as a first step for papers. Although the New York Times is a reliable newspaper, additional sources would have provided more encompassing and comprehensive research for students.
Children's Literature - Leslie Wolfson
Prepare to be both repelled and fascinated by this nonfiction book on some of the world's most deadly diseases. Viruses like Marburg, West Nile, SARS, and HIV/AIDS are covered in an engaging and informative manner. In the first and largest portion of the book, the author, a New York Times science reporter, details the Marburg virus after traveling to Angola during an outbreak in 2005. Because the author was actually there and experienced the devastation of the virus on the people of Uige, the text sounds authentic rather than secondhand research. Known as the "hot zone," hundreds of people died in Africa after suffering horrific symptoms. The extreme poverty, the afflicted residents, and the less-than-sanitary hospital conditions are all described in detail. The locals, being very superstitious, were afraid of the health workers dressed in their white protective gear, because the color white is associated with witches. Each section has glossy color photographs and accompanying sidebars. Readers will learn that all of these viruses originated and/or are spread through animals (monkeys, mosquitoes, and prairie dogs to name a few.) Overall, the subject is presented in a style that is both fascinating and easy to understand.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This readable and riveting text introduces students to the new age of viral epidemics. Grady begins with an account of her trip to Angola in 2005 to cover an outbreak of Marburg fever as a reporter for the New York Times. Her writing is informative and compelling. She persuasively relays the challenges of fighting a viral epidemic in a city that lacks such basic services as running water. The medical professionals also had to cope with language barriers and cultural differences. Grady clearly conveys the difficulties of confining and halting the spread of diseases in an age in which air travel makes it possible for an infected individual to spread a disease worldwide in a matter of hours. A map shows how one person infected with the SARS virus infected 400 individuals from around the globe while staying at a hotel in China. Boxed areas highlight information and individuals. For instance, one profiles Maria Bonino, an Italian pediatrician who died of Marburg during the outbreak. The layout is appealing and includes good-quality, full-color, relevant photographs on almost every spread. After relaying her experiences reporting on the Marburg outbreak, Grady profiles other deadly diseases, including Avian Flu, HIV and AIDS, SARS, and West Nile. A fast-paced, timely, and important book.-Maren Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Grady, author of a number of New York Times articles on the topic, describes in personal, sometimes-heartrending detail her 2005 visit to Angola to cover the outbreak of Marburg fever there. Then she goes on to profile six more viral diseases that have jumped from animal to human victims: HIV and SARS, Avian Flu, Hantavirus, West Nile and Monkeypox. Rather than getting involved in technicalities, she goes for the human angle, recalling her own anxieties over visiting a country with 10 million land mines and cockroaches the size of hockey pucks. Moreover, she describes the makeshift conditions in a hospital isolation ward with one dying occupant, and admits her mixed feelings about attending a family's funeral for a possibly infected child. Enhanced by news photos, side notes and a large list of citations to relevant Times articles, her accounts will be useful for assignments. They will also leave readers profoundly affected by not only the dangers of these often-unpredictable potential pandemics, but by the complex challenges facing medical professionals who fight to understand and contain them. (source notes, Internet resources, further reading) (Nonfiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780753459959
  • Publisher: Kingfisher
  • Publication date: 10/25/2006
  • Series: New York Times Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.77 (w) x 9.68 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Denise Grady has been a science reporter for The New York Times since 1998 and has written more than five hundred articles about medicine and biology. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a commendation from the Newspaper Guild for Choice and Excellence of Crusading Journalistic Contributions in the Areas of Science and Medicine. She lives in Westchester, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

180 miles (290 kilometers) north of us, the province of Uige (pronounced Weej) was in the grip of the world's largest epidemic ever of Marburg fever.

The outbreak had taken Angola by surprise, and no one knew exactly how,

where, or when it had started.

malaria, diarrheal infections, and yellow fever are just a few examples—that it is easy for a new illness to sneak in and gain a foothold. That is precisely what Marburg did: it blended in and got such a head start on doctors and health officials that suddenly, before they even knew what was happening,

they had an epidemic on their hands. The disease was still spreading. Virus experts had flown in from all over the world to try to stop it. Tomorrow, I would fly to the center of the outbreak, Uige.

and urging (some might call it pestering) the paper to cover it. American newspapers were not writing much about the disease. Finally, when I sent around an e-mail noting that the outbreak had officially become the largest known Marburg epidemic ever, one of my editors said, "Do you want to go?"

"Sure," I said—and wondered immediately what I had volunteered for. But, I must admit, the disease fascinated me. I was a biology major in college, and the student in me wanted to know more. The reporter in me wanted to tell the story of the crisis in Angola.

and friends asked if I wasn't afraid I would catch the disease myself.

incurable, and usually fatal disease, in an isolated part of a poor, crumbling nation with a shaky health-care system. At least one doctor and several nurses in Uige had caught the disease from their patients and died. The incubation period—the time between when a person is infected and when he or she becomes sick—is short, between three and ten days. I knew that if I became infected in Angola, I would probably die there, too.

Corpses, teeming with the virus, are especially dangerous, and some Angolans got sick and died from washing the body of a dead relative to prepare it for burial.

Even without Marburg, Angola wasn't the safest place. It had been torn apart by civil war from 1975 to 2002, and the countryside was still littered with land mines, so there were many areas where you simply couldn't walk or ride.

Outside Luanda, you weren't even supposed to drive up on the shoulder of the road to pass another car, because the shoulders had been planted with land mines. Medical care was poor, except in Luanda. Law and order were sketchy. The U.S. State Department Web site warned that bandits might stop cars along roads outside Luanda, especially at night, and that the police had been known to rob people. The State Department also said, "Police and military officials are sometimes undisciplined, and their authority should not be challenged." Even getting in and out of Angola could be tough, because there had been incidents in which officials at the airport pulled scams,

detaining travelers or threatening to vaccinate them with unsterilized needles unless bribes were paid.

except, perhaps, my own common sense.

"Fortunately," he said, "I've always been able to avoid Angola."

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    When I received my copy of DEADLY INVADERS, I had every intention of focusing on two of the diseases I was most familiar with--Avian (Bird) Flu and West Nile Disease. I had never actually heard of Marburg Fever, but quickly realized that a large portion of the book was devoted to this disease, and became intrigued. <BR/><BR/>The Marburg Story is broken down into six sections: Luanda, Angola; The Hot Zone; Arrival in Uige; Claudia's Funeral; The Outbreak Ends, and Animal Origins. So what is Marburg Fever? The Marburg virus is found in Africa, Asia, and South America, and is called a viral hemorrhagic fever. Outbreaks tend to erupt without warning, and although they cause rapidly fatal diseases, the illnesses start out with ordinary flu symptoms--headache, fever, aches and pains, an occasional rash, diarrhea and vomiting. What causes Marburg Fever to become deadly, though, is the fact that about half of the victims who suffer from the flu-like symptoms then begin to bleed, both internally and externally. What often follows is a breakdown of vital organs like the heart, kidneys, and liver from the fluid that is leaking out of the blood vessels. <BR/><BR/>Sounds horrifically painful, doesn't it? It is, and although right now it's only been found in the aforementioned countries and has come to an end, it could arise again, and even be spread to other parts of the globe. One of the most important things I learned by reading DEADLY INVADERS is how easily a virus, whether one that is air-born or one that can only be contracted through direct contact of bodily fluids, can be spread. With the ease of travel from one country to another, and with short incubation periods for viruses with little or no obvious symptoms in the beginning, it is not unlikely that an epidemic of some sort will one day spread across the Earth. <BR/><BR/>Besides Marburg Fever, there are six other diseases profiled in DEADLY INVADERS: Avian (Bird) Flu, HIV and AIDS, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, West Nile Disease, SARS, and Monkeypox. Each virus has specific symptoms, and none have cures. It is up to medical professionals across the world to work together to find vaccines for these diseases, so that we're prepared in the face of eventual outbreaks. <BR/><BR/>This is definitely an informative book. If you've ever wondered about the likelihood of outbreaks of Bird Flu or West Nile Disease in the United States, or if diseases that thrive in third-world countries will ever be a threat to those in the developed world, you need to read DEADLY INVADERS. The threat is there, and it's up to all of us to get ready.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    When I received my copy of DEADLY INVADERS, I had every intention of focusing on two of the diseases I was most familiar with--Avian (Bird) Flu and West Nile Disease. I had never actually heard of Marburg Fever, but quickly realized that a large portion of the book was devoted to this disease, and became intrigued. The Marburg Story is broken down into six sections: Luanda, Angola The Hot Zone Arrival in Uige Claudia's Funeral The Outbreak Ends, and Animal Origins. So what is Marburg Fever? The Marburg virus is found in Africa, Asia, and South America, and is called a viral hemorrhagic fever. Outbreaks tend to erupt without warning, and although they cause rapidly fatal diseases, the illnesses start out with ordinary flu symptoms--headache, fever, aches and pains, an occasional rash, diarrhea and vomiting. What causes Marburg Fever to become deadly, though, is the fact that about half of the victims who suffer from the flu-like symptoms then begin to bleed, both internally and externally. What often follows is a breakdown of vital organs like the heart, kidneys, and liver from the fluid that is leaking out of the blood vessels. Sounds horrifically painful, doesn't it? It is, and although right now it's only been found in the aforementioned countries and has come to an end, it could arise again, and even be spread to other parts of the globe. One of the most important things I learned by reading DEADLY INVADERS is how easily a virus, whether one that is air-born or one that can only be contracted through direct contact of bodily fluids, can be spread. With the ease of travel from one country to another, and with short incubation periods for viruses with little or no obvious symptoms in the beginning, it is not unlikely that an epidemic of some sort will one day spread across the Earth. Besides Marburg Fever, there are six other diseases profiled in DEADLY INVADERS: Avian (Bird) Flu, HIV and AIDS, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, West Nile Disease, SARS, and Monkeypox. Each virus has specific symptoms, and none have cures. It is up to medical professionals across the world to work together to find vaccines for these diseases, so that we're prepared in the face of eventual outbreaks. This is definitely an informative book. If you've ever wondered about the likelihood of outbreaks of Bird Flu or West Nile Disease in the United States, or if diseases that thrive in third-world countries will ever be a threat to those in the developed world, you need to read DEADLY INVADERS. The threat is there, and it's up to all of us to get ready.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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