Contagion

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Contagion

By Robin Cook

This is the first book that I read from Robin Cook. As I have read a number of thrillers and detective novels, I would say this medical thriller is quite average but the way Dr Robin Cook puts across the story, it is well explained even though there are some technical words and names in it.

This book was first published in 1995. I am amazed that it is still very relevant as of today.

After reading this story, I feel that it is quite easy to kill someone if you really want to. It reminds me of some the poison plots used by Agatha Christie. But of course, all of us should strive to make the world a happier and better place.

Terese, a young creative director lost her unborn child and had to do a hysterectomy, making her unable to have any children in future. Her newly married husband also cruelly left her when there is no child to be born. Hence, she put more effort and ambition into her work, to the point of spreading viruses with the help of her brother, Richard. The aim is to ensure that her advertising works for National Health works and can bring down other hospital’s competitor. I find that this point is a bit strange part of the story.

Based on the book, it is quite easy to order bacteria, viruses without any license, just put the virus in the hospital humidifier and let the virus spread to the patients. Personally, I believe that with the spread of the internet and abuse, it is possible to order such things with not much of a difficulty. I remembered reading a book called ” The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks” in which Lacks’s cancer cells were able to be grown and then sold to different labs for experimental purposes.

Some extracts of the book that I took :

Jack resigned himself to the horror of witnessing the spectacle of a virulently pathogenic influenza wreaking its havoc. With Terese’s and Richard’s rapidly worsening clinical state, he recalled stories that had been told about the terrible influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. People were said to have boarded a subway in Brooklyn with mild symptoms, only to be dead by the time they reached their destination in Manhattan. When Jack had heard such stories he assumed they had been exaggerations. But now he was being forced to observe Terese and Richard, he no longer thought so. Their swift deterioration was a frightening display of the power of contagion.

By 1 am Richard’s breathing was as labored as Terese’s had been. Terese was now frankly cyanotic and barely breathing. By four, Richard was cyanotic, and Terese was dead. At 6 am, Richard made a few feeble gurgling sounds and then stopped breathing.

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