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Infectious Diseases

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  1. 9.2 hrs • 10/6/2015 • Unabridged

    A groundbreaking look at the connection between germs and mental illness, and how we can protect ourselves. Is it possible to catch autism or OCD the same way we catch the flu? Can a child’s contact with cat litter lead to schizophrenia? In her eye-opening new book, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author Harriet Washington reveals that we can in fact “catch” mental illness. In Infectious Madness, Washington presents the new germ theory, which posits not only that many instances of Alzheimer’s, OCD, and schizophrenia are caused by viruses, prions, and bacteria, but also that with antibiotics, vaccinations, and other strategies, these cases can be easily prevented or treated. Packed with cutting-edge research and tantalizing mysteries, Infectious Madness is rich in science, characters, and practical advice on how to protect yourself and your children from exposure to infectious threats that could sabotage your mental and physical health.

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    Infectious Madness

    9.2 hrs • 10/6/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 8.5 hrs • 4/28/2015 • Unabridged

    Louise Troh—fiancee of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first man ever to die of Ebola in America—breaks her silence about her experience. This deeply moving memoir chronicles the decade-long love story that starts in Liberia and ends in an isolation ward in Dallas, Texas. With the assistance of New York Times bestselling author Christine Wicker, Louise Troh shares with the world a memoir of heartbreaking resonance.

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    My Spirit Took You In

    8.5 hrs • 4/28/15 • Unabridged
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    4.8 hrs • 12/23/2014 • Unabridged

    In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, the Ebola virus disease has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to ninety percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal, and until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first encountered the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon with local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola—its past, present, and its unknowable future.

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    Ebola

    4.8 hrs • 12/23/14 • Unabridged
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  4. 16.6 hrs • 10/7/2014 • Unabridged

    A fascinating and shocking historical exposé, The Malaria Project is the story of America’s secret mission to combat malaria during World War II—a campaign modeled after a German project which tested experimental drugs on men gone mad from syphilis. American war planners, foreseeing the tactical need for a malaria drug, recreated the German model, then grew it tenfold. Quickly becoming the biggest and most important medical initiative of the war, the project tasked dozens of the country’s top research scientists and university labs to find a treatment to remedy half a million US troops incapacitated by malaria. Spearheading the new US effort was Dr. Lowell T. Coggeshall, the son of a poor Indiana farmer whose persistent drive and curiosity led him to become one of the most innovative thinkers in solving the malaria problem. He recruited private corporations, such as today’s Squibb and Eli Lilly, and the nation’s best chemists out of Harvard and Johns Hopkins to make novel compounds that skilled technicians tested on birds. Giants in the field of clinical research, including the future NIH director James Shannon, then tested the drugs on mental health patients and convicted criminals—including infamous murderer Nathan Leopold. By 1943, a dozen strains of malaria brought home in the veins of sick soldiers were injected into these human guinea pigs for drug studies. After hundreds of trials and many deaths, they found their “magic bullet,” but not in a US laboratory. America’s best weapon against malaria, still used today, was captured in battle from the Nazis. Called chloroquine, it went on to save more lives than any other drug in history. Karen M. Masterson, a journalist turned malaria researcher, uncovers the complete story behind this dark tale of science, medicine, and war. Illuminating, riveting, and surprising, The Malaria Project captures the ethical perils of seeking treatments for disease while ignoring the human condition.

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    The Malaria Project

    Read by Kimberly Farr
    16.6 hrs • 10/7/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 19.7 hrs • 5/22/2012 • Unabridged

    The Speckled Monster is both a hair-raising tale of courage in the face of the deadliest disease that has ever struck mankind and a gripping account of the birth of modern immunology. Jennifer Lee Carrell’s dramatic story follows two parents who, after barely surviving the agony of smallpox themselves, flouted eighteenth-century European medical tradition by borrowing folk knowledge from African slaves and Eastern women in frantic bids to protect their children. Their heroic struggles gave rise to immunology, as well as the vaccinations that remain our only hope should the disease be unleashed again. Carrell transports listeners back to the early eighteenth century to tell the tales of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, two iconoclastic figures who helped save London and Boston from this scourge.

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    The Speckled Monster

    19.7 hrs • 5/22/12 • Unabridged
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  6. 7.9 hrs • 10/11/2011 • Unabridged

    In The Viral Storm, award-winning biologist Nathan Wolfe tells the story of how viruses and human beings have evolved side by side through history; how deadly viruses like HIV, swine flu, and bird flu almost wiped us out in the past; and why modern life has made our species vulnerable to the threat of a global pandemic. Wolfe’s research missions to the jungles of Africa and the rain forests of Borneo have earned him the nickname “the Indiana Jones of virus hunters,” and here Wolfe takes listeners along on his groundbreaking and often dangerous research trips—to reveal the surprising origins of the most deadly diseases and to explain the role that viruses have played in human evolution. In a world where each new outbreak seems worse than the one before, Wolfe points the way forward, as new technologies are brought to bear in the most remote areas of the world to neutralize these viruses and even harness their power for the good of humanity. His provocative vision of the future will change the way we think about viruses and perhaps remove a potential threat to humanity’s survival.

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    The Viral Storm

    7.9 hrs • 10/11/11 • Unabridged
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  7. 14.8 hrs • 11/16/2009 • Unabridged

    Washington journalist Alan Sipress delivers a riveting account of why science alone can’t stop the next pandemic. When avian flu began spreading across Asia in the early 2000s, it reawakened fears that had lain dormant for nearly a century. During the outbreak’s deadliest years, Alan Sipress chased the virus as it infiltrated remote jungle villages and teeming cities and saw its mysteries elude the world’s top scientists. In The Fatal Strain, Sipress details how socioeconomic and political realities in Asia make it the perfect petri dish in which the fast-mutating strain can become easily communicable among humans. Once it does, the ease and speed of international travel and worldwide economic interdependence could make it as destructive as the flu pandemic of 1918. In his vivid portrayal of the struggle between man and microbe, Sipress gives a front-line view of the accelerating number of near misses across Asia and the terrifying truth that the prospects for this impending health crisis may well be in the hands of cockfighters, live chicken merchants, and witch doctors rather than virologists or the World Health Organization. Like The Hot Zone and The Great Influenza, The Fatal Strain is a fast-moving account that brings the inevitability of an epidemic into a fascinating cultural, scientific, and political narrative.

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    The Fatal Strain

    14.8 hrs • 11/16/09 • Unabridged
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  8. 9.5 hrs • 6/2/2009 • Unabridged

    In a masterful dual narrative that pits the heights of human ambition and achievement against the supremacy of nature, New York Times bestselling author Stephan Talty tells the story of a mighty ruler and a tiny microbe, antagonists whose struggle would shape the modern world. In the spring of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte was at the height of his powers. Forty-five million called him emperor, and he commanded a nation that was the richest, most cultured, and advanced on earth. No army could stand against his impeccably trained, brilliantly led forces, and his continued sweep across Europe seemed inevitable. Early that year, bolstered by his successes, Napoleon turned his attentions toward Moscow, helming the largest invasion in human history. Surely, Tsar Alexander’s outnumbered troops would crumble against this mighty force. But another powerful and ancient enemy awaited Napoleon’s men in the Russian steppes. Virulent and swift, this microscopic foe would bring the emperor to his knees. Even as the Russians retreated before him in disarray, Napoleon found his army disappearing, his frantic doctors powerless to explain what had struck down a hundred thousand soldiers. The emperor’s vaunted military brilliance suddenly seemed useless, and when the Russians put their own occupied capital to the torch, the campaign became a desperate race through the frozen landscape as troops continued to die by the thousands. Through it all, with tragic heroism, Napoleon’s disease-ravaged, freezing, starving men somehow rallied, again and again, to cries of “Vive l’Empereur!” Yet Talty’s sweeping tale takes us far beyond the doomed heroics and bloody clashes of the battlefield. The Illustrious Dead delves deep into the origins of the pathogen that finally ended the mighty emperor’s dreams of world conquest and exposes this “war plague’s” hidden role throughout history. A tale of two unstoppable forces meeting on the road to Moscow in an epic clash of killer microbe and peerless army, The Illustrious Dead is a historical whodunit in which a million lives hang in the balance.

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    The Illustrious Dead

    9.5 hrs • 6/2/09 • Unabridged
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  9. 8.6 hrs • 12/1/2006 • Unabridged

    A thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London—and a brilliant exploration of how Dr. John Snow’s solution revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science, and the modern world. From the dynamic thinker routinely compared to Malcolm Gladwell, E. O. Wilson, and James Gleick, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner with a real-life historical hero that brilliantly illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of viruses, rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry. These are topics that have long obsessed Steven Johnson, and The Ghost Map is a true triumph of the kind of multidisciplinary thinking for which he’s become famous—a book that, like the work of Jared Diamond, presents both vivid history and a powerful and provocative explanation of what it means for the world we live in. The Ghost Map takes place in the summer of 1854. A devastating cholera outbreak seizes London just as it is emerging as a modern city: more than two million people packed into a ten-mile circumference, a hub of travel and commerce, teeming with people from all over the world, continually pushing the limits of infrastructure that’s outdated as soon as it’s updated. Dr. John Snow—whose ideas about contagion had been dismissed by the scientific community—is spurred to intense action when the people in his neighborhood begin dying. With enthralling suspense, Johnson chronicles Snow’s day-by-day efforts, as he risks his own life to prove how the epidemic is being spread. When he creates the map that traces the pattern of outbreak back to its source, Dr. Snow didn’t just solve the most pressing medical riddle of his time. He ultimately established a precedent for the way modern city-dwellers, city planners, physicians, and public officials think about the spread of disease and the development of the modern urban environment. The Ghost Map is an endlessly compelling and utterly gripping account of that London summer of 1854, from the microbial level to the macro-urban-theory level—including, most important, the human level.

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    The Ghost Map

    8.6 hrs • 12/1/06 • Unabridged
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  10. 19.4 hrs • 3/16/2006 • Unabridged

    At the height of WWI, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, The Great Influenza is ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, which provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon. John M. Barry has written a new afterword for this edition that brings us up to speed on the terrible threat of the avian flu and suggest ways in which we might head off another flu pandemic.

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    The Great Influenza

    19.4 hrs • 3/16/06 • Unabridged
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  11. 14.6 hrs • 4/1/2005 • Unabridged

    Here David Oshinsky tells the gripping story of the polio terror and of the intense effort to find a cure, from the March of Dimes to the discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines—and beyond. Drawing on newly available papers of Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin and other key players, Oshinsky paints a suspenseful portrait of the race for the cure, weaving a dramatic tale centered on the furious rivalry between Salk and Sabin. He also tells the story of Isabel Morgan, perhaps the most talented of all polio researchers, who might have beaten Salk to the prize if she had not retired to raise a family. Oshinsky offers an insightful look at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was founded in the 1930s by FDR and Basil O’Connor, it revolutionized fundraising and the perception of disease in America. Oshinsky also shows how the polio experience revolutionized the way in which the government licensed and tested new drugs before allowing them on the market, and the way in which the legal system dealt with manufacturers’ liability for unsafe products. Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, Oshinsky reveals that polio was never the raging epidemic portrayed by the media, but in truth a relatively uncommon disease. But in baby-booming America—increasingly suburban, family-oriented, and hygiene-obsessed—the specter of polio, like the specter of the atomic bomb, soon became a cloud of terror over daily life.  Both a gripping scientific suspense story and a provocative social and cultural history, Polio opens a fresh window onto postwar America.

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    Polio

    14.6 hrs • 4/1/05 • Unabridged
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  12. 13.2 hrs • 4/1/2005 • Unabridged

    The riveting story of one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of the twentieth century, from the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Apollo 13. With rivalries, reversals, and a race against time, the struggle to eradicate polio is one of the great tales of modern history. It begins with the birth of Jonas Salk, shortly before one of the worst polio epidemics in United States history. At the time, the disease was a terrifying enigma: striking from out of nowhere, it afflicted tens of thousands of children in this country each year and left them—literally overnight—paralyzed, and sometimes at death’s door. Salk was in medical school just as a president crippled by the disease, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was taking office—and providing the impetus to the drive for studies on polio. By the early 1950s, Salk had already helped create an influenza vaccine, and was hot on the trail of the polio virus. He was nearly thwarted, though, by the politics of medicine and by a rival researcher eager to discredit his proposed solution. In 1952 polio was spreading in record numbers, with 57,000 cases in the United States that summer alone. In early 1954 Salk was weighing the possibility of trials of a not-yet-perfected vaccine against-as the summer approached-the prospect of thousands more children being struck down by the disease. The results of the history-making trials were announced at a press conference on April 12, 1955: “The vaccine works.” The room—and an entire nation—erupted in cheers for this singular medical achievement. Salk became a cultural hero and icon for a whole generation. Now at the fiftieth anniversary of the first national vaccination program—and as humanity is tantalizingly close to eradicating polio worldwide—comes this unforgettable chronicle. Salk’s work was an unparalleled achievement, and it makes for a magnificent read.

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    Splendid Solution

    13.2 hrs • 4/1/05 • Unabridged
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  13. 10.5 hrs • 10/15/2004 • Unabridged

    In the war against diseases, they are the Special Forces. They always keep a bag packed. They seldom have more than twenty-four hours’ notice before they are dispatched. The phone calls that tell them to head to the airport, sometimes in the middle of the night, may give them no more information than the country they are traveling to and the epidemic they will tackle when they get there. The universal human instinct is to run from an outbreak of disease. These doctors run toward it. They are the disease detective corps of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal agency that tracks and tries to prevent disease outbreaks and bioterrorist attacks around the world. They are formally called the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS)—a group founded more than fifty years ago out of fear that the Korean War might bring the use of biological weapons—and, like intelligence operatives in the traditional sense, they perform their work largely in anonymity. They are not household names, but over the years they were first to confront the outbreaks that became known as hantavirus, ebola virus, and AIDS. Now they hunt down the deadly threats that dominate our headlines: West Nile virus, anthrax, and SARS. In this riveting narrative, Maryn McKenna—the only journalist ever given full access to the EIS in its fifty-three-year history—follows the first class of disease detectives to come to the CDC after September 11, the first to confront not just naturally occurring outbreaks but the man-made threat of bioterrorism. They are talented researchers—many with young families—who trade two years of low pay and extremely long hours for the chance to be part of the group that has helped eradicate smallpox, push back polio, and solve the first major outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, toxic shock syndrome, and E. coli O157. Urgent, exhilarating, and compelling, Beating Back the Devil goes with the EIS as they try to stop epidemics—before the epidemics stop us.

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    Beating Back the Devil

    10.5 hrs • 10/15/04 • Unabridged
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  14. 5.8 hrs • 10/8/2002 • Abridged

    The first major bioterror event in the United States—the anthrax attacks in October 2001—was a clarion call for scientists who work with “hot” agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, his first nonfiction book since The Hot Zone, a #1 New York Times bestseller, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of Usamriid, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, once the headquarters of the US biological weapons program and now the epicenter of national biodefense. Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at Usamriid, a wry virologist who cut his teeth on Ebola, one of the world’s most lethal emerging viruses, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top secret information on bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox—and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979 in one of the great triumphs of modern science, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers—at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and in Siberia at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines. Usamriid went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, DC. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government’s response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill. Jahrling is leading a team of scientists doing controversial experiments with live smallpox virus at CDC. Preston takes us into the lab where Jahrling is reawakening smallpox and explains, with cool and devastating precision, what may be at stake if his last bold experiment fails.

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    The Demon in the Freezer

    5.8 hrs • 10/8/02 • Abridged
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  15. 9.7 hrs • 7/1/2002 • Unabridged

    Smallpox, the only infectious disease to have been eradicated, was one of the most terrifying of human scourges. It covered the skin with hideous, painful boils, killed a third of its victims, and left the survivors disfigured for life. In this riveting, often terrifying look at the history of smallpox, Jonathan B. Tucker tells the story of this deadly disease, the heroic efforts to eradicate it worldwide, and the looming dangers it still poses today. Beginning in the sixteenth century, smallpox afflicted rich and poor alike, repeatedly altering the course of human history. No vaccine existed until 1796, when an English country doctor named Edward Jenner developed one. While this vaccination banished the virus from industrialized countries, smallpox remained a major cause of death in the developing world. Finally, in 1967, the World Health Organization launched an intensified global campaign to eradicate smallpox worldwide. By early 1978, the disease had been eliminated. During the 1980s, Soviet leaders cynically exploited the world’s new vulnerability to smallpox by mass-producing the virus as a strategic weapon. In recent years, concern over the possible return of smallpox has taken an even greater urgency with the realization that clandestine stocks of the virus may still exist.

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    Scourge by Jonathan B. Tucker

    Scourge

    9.7 hrs • 7/1/02 • Unabridged
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  16. 8.8 hrs • 5/13/2002 • Unabridged

    The first major bioterror event in the United States—the anthrax attacks in October 2001—was a clarion call for scientists who work with “hot” agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, his first nonfiction book since The Hot Zone, a #1 New York Times bestseller, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of Usamriid, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, once the headquarters of the US biological weapons program and now the epicenter of national biodefense. Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at Usamriid, a wry virologist who cut his teeth on Ebola, one of the world’s most lethal emerging viruses, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top secret information on bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox—and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979 in one of the great triumphs of modern science, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers—at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and in Siberia at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines. Usamriid went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, DC. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government’s response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill. Jahrling is leading a team of scientists doing controversial experiments with live smallpox virus at CDC. Preston takes us into the lab where Jahrling is reawakening smallpox and explains, with cool and devastating precision, what may be at stake if his last bold experiment fails.

    Available Formats: Download

    The Demon in the Freezer

    8.8 hrs • 5/13/02 • Unabridged
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