The author of this book is Laurie Garrett, an American science journalist and writer. Since her employment, she has always paid attention to the prevention and control of infectious diseases, and most of her works are derived from them. The publication of this book in 1996 also won her the Pulitzer interpretation Journalism Award. After 2004, Garrett joined the Council on foreign relations as a senior fellow of the global health program. She dealt with all kinds of problems, including SARS, avian influenza, tuberculosis, malaria, container clinics, and cross national issues of HIV / AIDS.
After the 1960s, when human beings encounter every invasion of infectious diseases, the soldiers in the front line of medicine are not afraid of the threat of death, bravely rush to the front, and are active in the epidemic area where the virus is rampant. Let your body and mind communicate with the virus at the nearest distance. Find out the essence of the virus and work hard to find out who is the controller behind it.
This book is not so much a physical history book about infectious diseases as a reasoning novel and medical popular science book. The novel truly reflects that medical workers are reasoning about who killed so many patients? Why does it have such a subtle cover up technique and use human selfish genes to make them work together through political means.
Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
This book began with the outbreak of hemorrhagic fever in Machupo, Bolivia. According to the progress of time, record the detailed story of each human outbreak of infectious diseases far and near. The protagonists of the story are the medical workers. The difficulties they encounter in their work, the pressure to deal with illness and injury, and the human struggle of relevant personnel. In some stories, readers can see the ruthlessness of politics, so that medical workers can only fight these passive situations with passion. After the collision of these two opposite energies, there is a power to believe more in the glory of human nature.
Here, I will introduce the clips I read and saw that make me feel wonderful.
The first is the American medical scientist who appeared many times in this book when the infectious disease of Machupo hemorrhagic fever broke out in Bolivia. The death of Carl Johnson. When he first entered the Central American Research Institute in the Panama Canal area, he was sent to matarare, Bolivia, as a newcomer. There was a large-scale virus infection in that small town. Someone needs to go where to collect local disease samples. While working locally, Johnson and two other colleagues attended a party of the local enthusiastic Amazon tribe. At the party, Johnson was unfortunately infected. At that time, he didn’t know what kind of virus it was. Soon after returning to the headquarters in Bolivia, his condition began to show. His wife also got the news of his illness and rushed to Bolivia. When I visited him, I was also infected with this strange virus. Finally, the two of them and a colleague who was also infected with the virus waited for death without any effective disposal of the virus. Fortunately, after several days of suffering, there are signs of improvement. When they recovered, they had antibodies against this strange virus. These antibodies were made into serum antibodies and distributed to the small town where the disease broke out, which cured the later patients and became a panacea for the later treatment of the disease. The virus was later named Machupo virus. There is a good medicine to cure the disease, but the behind the scenes man of Machupo virus is still free and has not found its whereabouts. After Carl Johnson, he became an expert on infectious diseases in the world. This is a gamble with his life and Machupo virus. Won the chips of victory.
The second story is about a Belgian doctor, Peter Piot, who was only 27 at that time. When the Ebola epidemic occurred in Zaire, Africa, he risked his life to enter the source of the disease. After the headquarters asked him to return to the headquarters to participate in the medical seminar, a military helicopter flew to the local area to pick him up. Before boarding the plane, he found that the pilot was drunk and confused. He rationally chose to refuse to board the plane. Did not attend the meeting as required. Two days later, Carl Johnson, the commander in chief of the medical rescue activity at the headquarters, informed Piot of the contents of the meeting and told him that the plane crashed on the mountain peak on the way back to the headquarters. The Zaire military believes that this is a conspiracy of Peter Piot, who deliberately caused the plane to malfunction. The military ordered Piot to take the pilot’s remains to headquarters. Piot felt helpless. Out of respect for his life, he took the local people across the mountains to find the wreckage of the crashed plane, took the three crew members down the mountain and sent them to the headquarters. This story reflects that the medical personnel at that time suffered political pressure beyond disease control under the harsh local political environment. Peter Piot was the first person to discover the Ebola virus.
President Ford vaccinated
The third wonderful story is in January 1976, two hundred years after the founding of the United States. In the boot camp at dixburg, a private Lewis died suddenly after a long-distance training. Medical examination of him revealed that he was suffering from swine flu before his death, which is called “influenza a” in China, or “influenza a” for short. Between 1918 and 1919, half a million Americans were killed. Subsequently, a number of patients with infectious diseases were found in the whole boot camp. This situation was reflected in the top level of the government. Out of fear of swine flu, President Ford at that time decided to inject infectious disease vaccine throughout the United States for protection. However, the medical companies making vaccines are worried that the negative effects of vaccination will bring litigation risks to pharmaceutical companies. Insurance companies are also willing to undertake such insurance business. That’s where the vaccine bill stalls.
In August of that year, after a Veterans’ Party in Philadelphia, more than 20 veterans broke out and died. Although the symptoms are not common symptoms of swine flu, the president can only let the state guarantee the vaccines of pharmaceutical companies so that the vaccination plan can be implemented.
However, after the vaccination, it did have a negative effect, increasing a large proportion of quadriplegic patients. These people then began to sue the government and received tens of millions of dollars in government compensation after more than ten years of litigation. This makes readers have an idea of rejecting vaccines. It is also a contradictory psychology in the treatment of infectious diseases. Protection is imperative, but no means of protection is 100% safe. Prevent or not, become a problem?
Through these records, it can be imagined that as a medical worker facing the death of millions of people, there are many kinds of difficulties outside of work. Natural disasters are not terrible, but man-made disasters.
In the last four chapters of this book, the topic suddenly turns to the history of infectious diseases. At the beginning, the epidemic of infectious diseases came from urbanization. Cities let people gather in a relatively small space. The book gives an example to prove it. How cities reduce people’s life expectancy. It was during the Roman Republic, about 200 BC. At that time, it was difficult to find old people around 80 in Rome, but there were many old people of this age in the farms near Rome.
Infectious disease outbreak in Britain
The biggest problem after people gather is to shorten the physical contact distance. In London in the 17th century, there was a situation of “diarrhea in the upstream and fiddling in the downstream”. Once the nobles in the upstream got sick, the civilians in the downstream suffered. Any medium will become an effective way for dense population to spread bacteria. Drinking water, human skin contact and droplets in the air have all become murder tools in cities.
When cities in developed countries discover the importance of public health and carry out urban public health construction, these infectious diseases also disappear.
However, those developing countries and countries in deep war are troubled by the word “poor”. Poverty prevents their people from escaping the quagmire of infectious diseases. Poverty sometimes limits people’s imagination, but more often, poverty limits people’s security ability.
These countries invest little in public health construction, and sometimes continue to destroy the assistance facilities of the United Nations health organization. The reason why Western society feels urgent to solve these problems is, to a large extent, that the population mobility in today’s world is too large. Whether for the purposes of tourism, exploration, commercial investment, humanistic care and so on, population mobility will bring the antigens of infectious diseases in backward areas to the populous developed world. Just like the spread of SARS in China in 2003, infection cases have been found in all large cities with a population of more than one million. Urbanization is like a magnifying glass. It magnifies the virus many times and sends it to the people in the city. These Western societies living in honeypots cannot be invaded by the virus in backward areas, which makes them focus on improving the health conditions in backward areas. So it’s a little unorthodox and hurts the motivation of those noble humanistic care. But I still think that the western society is always careless about the comprehensive transformation of backward areas.
Although, infectious diseases in backward areas sometimes stimulate the small heart of people in developed areas. However, AIDS is a malignant infectious disease produced in developed countries. And spread it to those developing countries. This is a ridiculous topic. But it also proves that the world is one. I will have what you have, and you should have some of what I have.
Before the discovery of AIDS, young people in the United States have such a mentality. Gonorrhea and syphilis are all minor ailments that can be cured by injections and drugs, which makes them have no fear of sexual intercourse. There will be no safeguards, especially between homosexuals. Promiscuity became the most fashionable way of life in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. When HIV was discovered, around 1985. The American medical community began to think that it was a result of abnormal sexual behavior between homosexuals. On the other side of the ocean, there are also sick people in France. Their identity is also homosexual, which further confirms this conjecture. However, the continuous emergence of heterosexual patients and underage patients raised questions about the fact that it was only transmitted among homosexuals.
In the same period of time, the same HIV infection occurred in several countries near the equator of Africa on the opposite side of the Atlantic. This gives Americans a pot bearer. At the World Health Organization meeting held in the United States, a female reporter also directly asked three doctors from Zaire whether there was mating between humans and monkeys in Africa? This problem with obvious racial discrimination and ridicule came to the ears of three African medical experts. They hid their anger and avoided the conflict by not understanding English. At this time, the French based European health organization also threw the pot of AIDS infection to Africa.
Road map of epidemic
According to the results of genetic comparisons of the virus, the authors believe that the AIDS epidemic in Haiti, Africa and the United States and Central America occurred in parallel. It can not be considered that Africans are infected with local monkeys.
Finally, in the author’s medical reasoning novel, the infectious diseases that have occurred since the 20th century include swine flu, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, yellow fever, Brazilian meningitis and Ebola virus. Not long after the publication of this book, the atypical virus that occurred in China has only found the killing tools, not the murderer. The identity of the killer is still unknown.
At the same time, due to the continuous development of genetics, a college student of this major can easily change a common virus into another new virus through genetic sequencing in the university laboratory, and then set its mode of transmission vector. This has produced a new biological and chemical weapon. This danger is real.
At the end of the article, the author borrows the words of American journalist i.f. stone, “we either learn to live together or die together”.
A few years after the author published this book, there was an outbreak of SARS in Asia. The killers of infectious diseases since the 20th century still exist in this world. The next time they come to human beings, they will become stronger and cunning. At that time, how human beings protect themselves will become a difficult problem.