Sunday, May 29, 2016

On my nightstand (and paper cutter, too)


Thanks to my friend Erika who likes to share her book choices (all non-fiction), I've started reading a couple of non-fiction books.  They are both on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), the mystery illness that took the entire world by storm in late 2002 and early 2003.

Twenty-First Century Plague: The Story of SARS 
 by Thomas Abraham

On the front flap:

In the autumn of 2002 in southern China, a previously unknown virus jumped the species barrier from animal to man and sparked the first global epidemic of the new century. The disease sped along the air routes of a globalized world, spreading within months to thirty-one countries on every continent.

Before it was reined in by a remarkable international scientific effort, the SARS virus demonstrated human society's vulnerability to disease. New infectious diseases like SARS have been emerging at an alarming rate over the past few decades. There is every indication the world will continue to face new viral diseases, some of them much more lethal and contagious than SARS.
This book traces the emergence of SARS, in the process examining the global politics and economics of disease. It provides the first behind-the-scenes account of how the global battle against SARS was fought and the incredible research efforts that finally led to identification of the virus.
Drawing on unprecedented access to scientists, doctors, and recovered patients, Thomas Abraham recounts the pressures and heartbreaks suffered by brave researchers who battled the clock to solve the SARS puzzle―even as colleagues and friends succumbed to the disease.
"The caller at the other end of the phone was from the Manila office of the World Health Organization (WHO), and his message was alarming. Flying over the Atlantic Ocean on a Singapore Airlines flight was a critically ill man who had to be hospitalized in an isolation ward as soon as possible... There were over 300 passengers on the jet, which was bound for Singapore via Frankfurt, and unless the man was taken off the plane, they were all in danger."
"On March 15, while David Heymann and his team were toiling away on their global travel alert in Geneva, a 72-year-old man boarded Air China flight 112 from Hong Kong to Beijing... Not only was he sick, he also happened to be a super-spreader of the disease. From his seat, 14E, he infected 21 other passengers and crew members."

 Needless to say, I was hooked and wanted to know more.

Viral Fitness: The Next SARS and West Nile in the Making 
by Jaap Goudsmit 
Taken from Amazon:

Despite vaccines and medicines, we have not succeeded in eradicating the most poisonous viruses in the world, like jaundice, measles, diarrhea, polio, and AIDS, not to mention newcomers like West Nile and SARS. Also, since September 11, it is no longer unthinkable that a terrorist would intentionally spread a virus among people or the food chain. In this book, Jaap Goudsmit argues that there is no such thing as life without viruses for many reasons; including the fact that many viruses spread without any visible signs, and can hide in animals; that there are too many different species of viruses and they multiply much faster than any animal or plant; and that infections strike especially in areas where life is difficult enough already, such as Africa and Asia. 

The illness which spread to more than two dozen countries, was finally contained, but not before the global outbreak of 2003 was contained.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, in the US):
Since 2004, there have not been any known cases of SARS reported anywhere in the world.
A 2003 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine provides a review, including the cause of SARS:
The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is responsible for the first pandemic of the 21st century. Within months after its emergence in Guangdong Province in mainland China, it had affected more than 8000 patients and caused 774 deaths in 26 countries on five continents. It illustrated dramatically the potential of air travel and globalization for the dissemination of an emerging infectious disease and highlighted the need for a coordinated global response to contain such disease threats.
I am currently reading both and comparing the information each contains.

Of course, I had to create my own interpretation of SARS, only the alcohol bled.  When I tried to blot it dry, it smeared.  Still, it looks like a deadly pathogen to me.

Turning from my nightstand to my guillotine cutter, I was recently reminded of the annual ICAD challenge, which I have participated in for the past three years.  However, since Tammy at Daisy Yellow, the host, doesn't have a way for me to link except on social media sites I'm not a part of (yes, I'm ONLY a blogger and proud of it), I will once again share my ICADs here once a week.

Tammy also insisted we buy these little cards.  I realize they are about $2.00 (USD) for enough to last at least a year and a half, but why buy something when I have so many, many used file folders just waiting patiently to be used (and cut to index card size).  So once again, I've cut 62 index cards from file folders.  I have one extra in case something bad happens to one.

Thanks for visiting today.  I hope the SARS virus never becomes a pandemic again, and we learned to trust health organizations outside our own countries and share information before it becomes uncontrollable.

And I hope you will also join me by making an index card a day from June 1 to July 31 this year.  Again, thanks so much for your visits.



11 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Sounds like an exciting and interesting read. Love your 'virus' picture, it looks dangerous! Have a fun day, and enjoy your ICAD challenge, but I will not join in, I have too much on my plate already. Hope the storms have subsided, we still have storm warnings here. Hugs, Valerie

pearshapedcrafting said...

This book looks interesting but scary in a way. I must say though that factual books fascinate me - I loved Freakanomics, although I haven't read the latest one! I love your SARS interpretation! Don't think I could manage an ICADA day but looking forward to seeing yours! Hope your storms have died down! Hugs, Chrisx

Divers and Sundry said...

Your books sound interesting, tho I've never been a big fan of non-fiction except for Natural History and travel narratives. The comparison between your 2 books ought to be interesting.

It's good that you're able to adapt this challenge to suit your practice. I look forward to seeing your project progress :)

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Sounds very interesting --and I love your artsy interpretation of the virus -lol!
Have fun with the ICAD challenge again - I am looking forward to your pieces!
Hope the weather is better in your area now -
we have nice weather but rainy days are forecasted again... so no real summer in sight.
oxo Susi

Unknown said...

I love reading books about pandemics and drawing pathogens. Good use of onsite resources for your ICADs. I'm using divider cards that I picked up at an estate sale. Give Bleubeard a tummyrub for me. Mareena

Sandra Cox said...

Both fascinating and chilling information on SARS. You did a wonderful interpretation.
I hope the water is receding.......
Hugs

Corrine at corrinegilman.com said...

I am sure you will enjoy the icad's as you have for the past few years. xox

My name is Erika. said...

I'm finally getting around to my posts as I've been busy all day. Those books look really interesting. I find it interesting how SARS has vanished, but what's next- maybe this Zika virus. I teach microbio so I think I need to look up this book. And I think your blurring dots look very much like bacterial colonies. Nice!!! So is there any theme for these cards or should we just make them for our mood? I am curious. Have a great rest of your long weekend. Is your weather any calmer and is it sunny and summery? Hugs-Erika

Dianne said...

I much prefer your colorful version of a deadly pathogen to the real thing...you sure like interesting reading material! me, I am all about science fiction and fantasy...thanks to my hubby who got me started. And so proud of you for making your own ICAD cards. I actually used 4x6 index cards instead of 3x5. rules are made to be broken, right?! lol. do your own thing and enjoy the journey! ♥

Jeanie said...

It's not the substrate -- it's the art that goes on it. Just sayin'...

SARS -- I live in fear of things like that with my lack of immune system!

Dawn C. said...

Gosh, reading SARS books before bedtime would give me nightmares! I like how you created your own virus using alcohol inks. Isn't it interesting where inspiration comes from?