Thursday, July 17, 2008


Pandemic by Daniel Kalla was originally published in 2005. My paperback copy has 407 pages. Pandemic is the first book by Kalla to feature Dr. Noah Haldane. If you were intrigued by Kalla's book Cold Plague, you might want to consider reading Pandemic first, although it's not necessary to read the books in order. This is medical mystery/thriller. I enjoyed Pandemic and look forward to more books by Kalla. Rating: 4

Synopsis from cover:

Dr. Noah Haldane knows that humanity is overdue for a new killer flu, like the great influenza pandemic of 1919 that killed more than twenty million people in less than four months. So when a mysterious new strain of flu is reported in China, he expects trouble.

He soon discovers that the new disease, Acute Respiratory Collapse Syndrome, is far more deadly than SARS, killing one in four victims, regardless of their age or health. But even as Noah and his colleagues struggle to contain the outbreak, ARCS is already spreading to Hong Kong, London, and even America.

In an age when every single person in the world is connected by three or fewer commercial flights, a killer bug can travel much faster than the flu of 1919.

Especially when someone is spreading the virus on purpose...

"Northern Gansu Province, China: The SUV rattled along the dusty road, twelve miles south of Jiayuguan's city limits." first sentence.

"If not for the semiautomatic rifles slung over their shoulders, the soldiers manning the gate could have passed for surgeons. All three wore gowns, plastic caps, gloves, and surgical masks." pg. 2

"He might have been anywhere from twenty to eighty, but his face was so swollen and bruised Lee couldn't place his age. His eyes puffed out like apricots. His lips swelled out further than his nose. The line of the jaw was lost in the unnatural folds of his neck. Between his sausage lips, a clear plastic tube led to the ventilator." pg. 5

"In the winter of 1918-1919 this mutated influenza virus killed twenty million people. Which in today's terms is the equivalent of eighty million dead in less than six months." pg. 11

"Man-made propagation of a natural epidemic. That, Ms. Roberts, is where I think the terrorists will get the best bang for their buck." pg. 20

"This isn't any known influenza A or B, but a closely related virus. Probably one we've never seen." pg. 34

"For all infections, there are three routes of potential spread. First, direct contact, HIV or Hepatitis B are examples of viruses requiring intimate contact. Second is a droplet spread like the common cold or flu. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, large mucous droplets carry the infection from person to person. However, these droplets are relatively big and fall to the ground quickly so you need close and immediate contact. The final and most feared route of spread is airborne. Smallpox and measles are viral examples. By coughing or sneezing, people aerosolize tiny particles. These particles can linger in the air for hours or spread remotely via ventilation systems and so on." pg. 99

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