Was the 2003 SARS outbreak a warning of deadly epidemics to come? Acclaimed author and journalist Karl Taro Greenfeld was on the spot when the disease was discovered. His taut, thriller-like account tells the compelling story of a lethal microbe that learnt to jump between species - from animal to human - with brutal efficiency, killing a large number of its victims and terrifying millions around the world. China Syndrome takes us on a gripping ride from the bedside of one of the first Chinese victims, via cutting-edge labs where the researchers race to identify the new illness, to conference rooms at the World Health Organization as officials desperately try to determine the true extent of the epidemic - despite a scandalous cover-up by the Chinese government. As Greenfeld reveals, the outbreak of SARS - and, now, the convergence of a deadly strain of Avian Flu - is part of a pattern of evidence suggesting that the next pandemic will also emerge from Asia. It could be more virulent and difficult to contain that anything we've ever encountered. And it's long overdue. Is humanity ready?
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Karl Taro Greenfeld, the former editor of Time Asia, is the author of Speed Tribes: Days and Nights with Japan's Next Generation and Standard Deviations: Growing Up and Coming Down in the New Asia.
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