Posted by: silverstar98121 | September 5, 2008

Hiding out

The True Story of the 21st Century's First Great Epidemic China Syndrome: The True Story of the 21st Century’s First Great Epidemic by Karl Taro Greenfeld

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A good account of the SARS epidemic from the editor of Time Asia, who was in the thick of it. Interesting things learned:

1. China still treats Hong Kong as a foreign country even though it supposedly is part of China now.

2. The virus that caused SARS is a form of corona virus, usually associated with the common cold. Obviously this was a form that humans were immunologically naive to.

3. It came from palm civets, a relative of the skunk. mongoose.

4. We are lucky it was not as contagious as the flu.

5. We’re lucky that China treats Hong Kong as a foreign country, because a lot of the work on SARS came out of Hong Kong at the same time China was denying there was an epidemic.

6. We were lucky that it wasn’t as fatal as the Black Death.

7. Eating wild animals is dangerous. Hell, in view of Mad Cow, eating domesticated animals is dangerous. But then so is eating vegetables, ie, e. coli on spinach, salmonella on peppers. Live dangerously.

View all my reviews.


  1. one more thing that makes me want to live in a concrete bunker in idaho!

  2. is that the same civet whose glands are used in perfume making?

  3. 4. We are lucky it was not as contagious as the flu.

    6. We were lucky that it wasn’t as fatal as the Black Death.

    The thing is, humans have become a plague on the face of the planet. The planet is fighting back though and, with all the talk of pandemic response planning, there are those who believe mother nature is going to come up with a “dirty bomb” of sorts that will decimate the population.

    Personally, I could do with a little less competition.

    As to food safety, that’s what happens when we are bullied into turning responsibility for our food supply over to greedy corporations that interested in turning out nutrition devoid swill with the highest possible profit margins. My response thus far has been to largely reject meat, plant a vegetable garden and start to think about a year round back yard greenhouse.

  4. Yeah, what Rob said.

    Actually, I do believe that a pandemic is the more likely scenario for population reversal and will reverse also some of the uglier trends in international relations.

    I don’t think many of us will be left behind though.

  5. Daisy Fae- don’t go-unless you still have internet access. Living among the militia that populate the place might be difficult for you, however. I can recommend a state just to the west, however.

    Nurse Myra- yes, same civet. I was wrong however, it is a relative of the mongoose.

    Annie & Rob- yeah, the pandemic is coming, we won’t duck it. We are probably overdue for it. And in the end all our fancy medicine probably won’t help us. It has been pointed out that we will soon run out of respirators in a pandemic flu. And what people don’t recognize is that some deaths are excess deaths due to lack of simple care, either because the caregivers are unwilling or unable. And although it might thin the herd, even the Black Death only killed 50% of the population.

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