Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Pandemic“Cholera kills people fast. There’s no drawn-out sequence of progressive debility. The newly infected person feels fine at first. Then half a day passes, and cholera has drained his or her body of its fluids, leaving a withered blue corpse.”

Pandemic sounds like a science fiction thriller. Unfortunately, it can be all too realistic and could happen.

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How do we prevent it? One way would be to read Pandemic.

Most of us do not plan to be exposed or infected with cholera. What would you do if you were on an airplane from Haiti to Florida in 2013?

This particular flight was delayed. The crew disinfected where a cholera infected person had been the previous hour. What if you had been on the plane with a person suffering from cholera? They probably felt fine when boarding the flight. Could you contract cholera by being on a plane with an infected person?

It seems as if the more advanced medical science becomes, the more contagious these diseases become.

Author, Sonia Shah chose to write a readable and understandable journey following the cholera epidemic to demonstrate to everyone, even those not in the medical field, how a pandemic happens.

Shah understands these diseases and has personal experience with the MRSA bacterium herself and in her family.
One of her sons had contracted the disease. Being a thirteen-year-old boy, she was accustomed to seeing skinned knees and sores. When he complained about a bandaged sore on his kneecap, she investigated only to discover the sore was boils. It was a staph infection called MRSA.

MRSA is a nasty disease. It was first identified in the 1960s and by the year 2010, had killed more people than AIDS. This disease tends to infect and reinfect family members for years frequently causing people or lose a limb or their life. How does anyone stop it?

Treatment is painful and takes weeks or months to recover. How can anyone cope with this? How does a family conquer this antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
Pandemic is a must-read for everyone. It realistically explains the precautions in an easy-to-understand manner that makes you a little more cautious in public places and especially boarding planes.
Be prepared. Read Pandemic.