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Levitt,A. M. (2013). Deadlyoutbreaks: how medical detectives save lives threatened by killerpandemics, exotic viruses, and drug-resistant parasites.New York: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Aninfectious disease is a dangerous occurrence that is associated withhigh mortality rate and fear. In the past, an epidemic was a silentkiller which proceeded invisibly and threatened the whole community.This was due to lack of medical technologies which could protect thespread of the disease. Despite the advancement in medicaltechnologies, the modern world is threatened by a wide range ofdisease outbreaks (Levitt, 2013). This book aims at informingepidemiologists and other medical personnel as well as the generalpublic about infection diseases outbreak in the modern world. Thisbook report focuses on three chapters in the book. They includechapter one, chapter two and chapter four.

Chapterone looks at Nile Virus Outbreak that affected New York City. Thechapter gives a report on how the New York City health departmentsand relevant authorities handled the outbreak which involvedinvestigations of both humans and birds. Cases leading to theoutbreak were fast reported in Flushing Hospital in August of 1999prompting the action of medical detectives led by Annie Fine. As theinvestigation progressed, concerns over bioterrorism emerged whichrequired medical detectives to work closely with other departmentssuch mainly law enforcement agencies. The investigating teamconsidered the first reported cases as encephalitis. However, theyobserved unusual similarities in the reported cases. All the patientsaffected by the infection were old people who were relatively activebut did not exhibit some of the main symptoms of encephalitis. Thechapter gives a detailed account of all the steps taken by themedical detectives to diagnose the infection. Finally, afterconsidering all the possibilities, the medical detectives were ableto conclude that the disease was mosquito borne. The outbreak hascoincided with perfect weather mild winter, wet and then dry season,as well as a reported increase in mosquito population (Levitt, 2013).

Chaptertwo discusses the attempts by United States government to prevent thespread of drug resistant malaria in Cambodia to other parts of theworld, especially the United States through refugee. This happened in1982 when thousands of Cambodians were being resettled in the UnitedStates. As a result of the risks associated with the high infectiousmalaria, all the refugees had to be screened before they wererelocated. However, due to the large number of refugees, it wasincreasingly difficult to screen them in the centers in Cambodia,which required them to be transported to other screening centers inPhilippines. The US CDC coordinator in the region, Patrick J McConnonhad an immense task. He has a huge responsibility of ensuring thatthe epidemic does not reach the United States (Levitt, 2013).

Chapterfive of the book, DangerousDesserts,outlines the attempts by medical detectives lead by Craig Hedberg tocontain an outbreak of food poising in Minnesota in 1994. Althoughsalmonella cases were been monitored, the rise in the number ofreported cases in southeast Minnesota raised concerns over anemergence of an outbreak. After an extensive study, the medicaldetectives identified ice cream as the source of the salmonella. Thechapter demonstrates the role of epidemiology and statistical data ininvestigating and containing diseases outbreaks in the modern world(Levitt, 2013).

Inconclusion, disease outbreaks are a common occurrence in the modernsociety. The book looks at specific outbreaks in the recent past aswell as how medical personnel were able to deal the outbreaks.Nonetheless, the book maintains that despite the technologies thatare available to medical detectives, infectious diseases outbreaksare deadly and have far reaching medical implications.


Levitt,A. M. (2013). Deadlyoutbreaks: how medical detectives save lives threatened by killerpandemics, exotic viruses, and drug-resistant parasites.New York: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.