A warning about the next pandemic


December 09, 2005|By MARY BETH REGAN

Microbe: Are We Ready for the Next Plague? (By Alan P. Zelicoff and Michael Bellomo; Amacom, $23)

This book hits close to home.

As worldwide headlines warn of avian flu, Microbe argues that the United States is woefully unprepared for the next pandemic.

Co-author Alan Zelicoff, formerly a top government scientist, puts forth a good argument for the need for an electronic surveillance system to enable health officials to share information about cluster illnesses. Zelicoff left his post at Sandia National Laboratories to join a private company developing such a system.

However, don't let this potential conflict of interest dissuade you. The authors do an excellent job of pointing out the failings of a "highly balkanized" public health surveillance system in the United States.

Bottom Line: This book is a bit clunky and wonkish. But it's a great primer on the debate about whether the U.S. is ready for a pandemic.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.