Monday, October 20, 2014

Hot zone update

Sitting at my desk in New York and trying to gear up to write a letter of recommendation that's due today - fortunately I don't need to be on campus until three, as I still have quite a bit of reading to finish before class as well.

Dublin was excellent but phenomenally tiring - any time I was not actually seeing people and doing conference things, I was essentially huddled in bed in my hotel room (fortunately it was quite a nice room - I put up the Do Not Disturb sign and just left it up!).

Interesting interview with Richard Preston at the New York Times about current plans to update his thriller-like account of Ebola as of the early 1990s, The Hot Zone. I vividly remember reading this during my first year of grad school - my roommate LeeAnn had the hardcover and I devoured it! I have been following Ebola developments closely and with interest: my two main fantasy alternate careers are neurologist and epidemiologist, and I am a little sorry that I am not involved in planning and organizing ways to contain the epidemic.

I am relieved to see that Preston admits that one bit of the book is especially in need of correction (I always wondered!):
In the original “Hot Zone,” I have a description of a nurse weeping tears of blood. That almost certainly didn’t happen. When a person has Ebola, the eyes can turn brilliant red from blood vessels leaking and blood oozing out of the eyelid. That’s horrifying, but it’s not someone with tears of blood running down their face. I want to fix that.
Here's his piece in this week's New Yorker.

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