Monday, November 3, 2008

The Demon in the Freezer

The Demon in the Freezer by by Richard Preston

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Fawcett (August 26, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345466632
ISBN-13: 978-0345466631

I became interested in reading this book because my 16 year old daughter was assigned to read it for her Honors Science Seminar. From the first chapter, I was totally hooked - and scared silly, because this is a true book.

The Demon in the Freezer refers to the Smallpox virus, a once fatal disease that effected humans on every continent of the world. Since the early 1970s, Smallpox has been eradicated and it is no longer a threat to humans.

Or is it?

When we talk about devastation from a nuclear weapon, the area of destruction is limited to the area of the bomb. Smallpox is worse than a nuclear weapon because it has the ability to travel rapidly from person to person, anywhere in the world. Because Smallpox is an airborne pathogen, this makes it more dangerous and destructive than a nuclear weapon.

Preston deomonstrates how the Smallpox virus can, and has, spread across the globe in a matter of weeks killing hundreds of thousands of people. Because the Smallpox virus has been absent in nature for over 30 years, no one on the planet today has an immunity to this disease.

There are supposedly only two sources of the virus available for research and testing: one at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, the other in Russia. But Preston says we are all naive if we believe this is truly the only sources available for this virus - that's the scary part! What if a terrorist were to acquire the Smallpox virus for use in a biological weapon?

The Demon in the Freezer is a must read for anyone concerned with possible biological terrorist. It is also good to be up-to-date one what are children are asked to read in school. Even though this book scared me, it was well written and full of information.

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