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Catching Cold
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Catching Cold

Price per Unit (piece): HK$55.00

Author: Pete Davies
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Format: Hardback NEW
ISBN: 0718143493

In 1997 a young boy's death in Hong Kong sent shock waves around a little-known worldwide scientific network. The boy was killed by an unfamiliar strain of flu, and such was the concern among those dedicated to protecting us from the disease that, in Hong Kong, over one and a half million chickens were slaughtereed in an effort to contain the outbreak. In the UK, letters were sent to retired GPs urging them to be ready to help combat a potentially devastating pandemic.

Their urgency was no over-reaction: we know what flu can do. In 1918, the Spanish Flu killed up to forty million people across the planet. It killed more Americans than all the wars that country has fought this century put together. In India, estimates of the death toll have been upwards of fifteen million. On some islands of the South Pacific, small towns lost a third of their populations over the space of a few weeks.

It remains a mystery why the 1918 outbreak was so devastating. In August 1998, scientists exhumed the bodies of seven miners buried for eighty years within the Norwegian Arctic Circle, in order to search for clues. There's a chance that their frozen graves will have preserved fragments of the 1918 virus that killed them, and that these will tell us why the Spanish strain proved so catastrophic. Competition among rival scientists is intense: the prize is information that could hold the key to our future safety.

Catching Cold is the extraordinary story of 1918's forgotten tragedy and of the global scientific community working to avert another such disaster. As far as the next pandemic is concerned, all the scientists agree: it's not a question of if, but when.


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Last Updated: 22 January 2018