on April 22, 2007
This is an excellent book. The writing is pacey and the material is riveting.
The basic premise is very seriously that as global trade increases exponentially, so too does the risk of global pandemic. It may be just one of your common or garden diseases that get us - like cholera - imported into coastal economies by visiting ships pumping out the ballast they have carried half way round the world. It may be caused because some mad scientist that is working in one of a dozen countries unleashes anthrax. The chapter on Anthrax gets into some depth about the horrendous experiments done by Dr Ishii, a Japanese military doctor. And how at the end of WWII he traded his secret files for freedom. These detailed the infection of prisoners with anthrax and other pathogens - and then dissecting them without anaesthetic... Apparently he was not tried for war crimes, but instead went to Fort Detrick to continue his research!
Hopefully this book will in its own way be a pathogen - an idea virus that will motivate us to all find ways to put the earth back in balance...
Just in case you thought you were uniquely immuned to any serious biological invasion of virulent micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, Nikiforuk has news for you: you're not! As a science journalist of some repute, Nikiforuk has amassed a significant amount of current information to show how vulnerable we really are anywhere on the face of the planet. Even the threat to the natural habitats by the human introduction of exotic flora and fauna receives considerable scrutiny. The one concern that has me worried is the spread of drug resistant bacteria such as Methicillin Resistant Staphyloccus aureus and other superbugs like C.difficile through our hospitals. Though there might not be a lot of new information in his research, Nikiforuk does bring it all together to serve as yet another dire warning that all is not well with the earth and that corrective action must be taken immediaely. Great read with plenty of well documented evidence. He might have mentioned the problem with the carp infestation of the Mississippi River as the next great ecological disaster waiting to happen.