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The Fatal Strain Paperback – 29 Sep 2011

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Product Description


Superb and sobering (The Washington Post)

A thorough reporter who knows how to tell a story (Bloomberg News)

About the Author

Alan Sipress is economics editor at The Washington Post and a longtime foreign correspondent, based most recently in Southeast Asia. In 2005, a Post team he anchored was awarded the Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline Writing for coverage of the South Asian tsunami. This is his first book. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Fatal Strain, thoughtful inquiry into a murky subject 11 Feb. 2010
By R. Idol - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Avian flu, is by nature an evolving organism. It is accepted that it mutates at a higher rate than most other organisms. I suggest that it is also a relatively elusive organism. Therefore what was accepted last year may have changed or our perception or interpretation of that knowledge may have changed. Given such fluid understanding, it is good to stop and look back at the progression of the problem and our knowledge.
I have read official reports and other works about Avian flu and was very pleased with this volume as it sheds additional light on those reports. The book is the best layman's "history" I have yet seen for the progression of this virus and our evolving understanding of it. Its information is consistent with at least some official reports and technical papers and the author's credentials and references inspire a measure of credibility.
If it raises concerns of human-to-human transmission that go beyond officially sanctioned reports, it also suggests the political pressures that may have lead to downplaying this threat and cites researchers as sources for the concern. We have recently seen issues and controversy surrounding WHO's handling of Swine flu , which by no means indicates incompetence but only the complexity of these viruses and the difficulty of quickly understanding what they are and what they are capable of.
With that in mind, and realizing that there is continueing disagreement among researchers about Avian flu, reading "The Fatal Strain" is highly recommended to enlarge your understanding of this potential threat.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
very timely! 26 Dec. 2009
By jjmazza - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a terrific read and I'm pleased to be one of the early readers to write a review. The book is a candid, no nonsense, detail portrayal of the spread and current status of the H5N1 avian influenza virus(bird flu). Sipress never wandered from the focus of his detailed review and evolution of the viral epidemics he witnessed. His travels and intrepid search in the countries of Southeast Asia provides the reader with an accurate perspective on the magnitude and implications of the bird flu and why it is of major concern to the countries of the world, whether developed or developing. The human interest stories of the many individuals and victims the author encountered on his sojourn and the effects on the economy of these developing countries captivated my interest and appreciation.
The cooperation between the health surveillance organizations of the various countries where the epidemics were documented was comforting. However, the political insensitivity in those developing countries was equally worrisome.

Of paramount importance in understanding these epidemics and spread of the disease is the rapidity with which these viruses can change their genetic make-up that allows them to infect other species with unpredictable virulence.

As someone involved in biomedical research, it will be a book I will in all likelihood be referring to as we encounter the influenza epidemics of the future.

Kudos to Alen Sipress on this his first book! I look forward to his future or subsequent publications.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Global focus is valuable 25 Jan. 2010
By D. Sampson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Just finished this fascinating first book and would recommend it to anyone interesting in global health.
Just one of the most interesting aspects is how cultural and economic considerations often trump strictly medical concerns.
One other segment I found truly interesting was the detailed chronology of the spread of SARS. I followed it in the media at the time, but this timeline was telling. Great effort!
Good overview 12 Feb. 2013
By K. Harrison - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Easy to read overview of bird flu. This book tackles culture, politics and science in an investigative journalistic style. It goes a long way in explaining the difficulties of fighting viruses. The end was a little abrupt and the data organization did not work for me. I usually prefer more scientific books though, so it could just be me. The stories he told of everyday people in southeast Asia were great.
very informative 12 Feb. 2014
By TooDog - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
if you want a clear understanding of how the flu virus develops and the health risks it presents then this is the book for you. It is not over technical but presents enough of the science of the flu virus to give the lay reader a good understanding. The narrative is well written and keeps you turning the pages.
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