Founded in 1951 because of a mistaken concern that troops in Korea had been exposed to biological weapons, the Epidemic Intelligence Service, or EIS, is the rapid-response force of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.""Young, highly trained, and fiercely committed,"" EIS health professionals, including doctors, dentists, nurses and veterinarians, respond rapidly and travel to any area of the world to examine possible threats to public health. Given unique access to the EIS, McKenna presents 11 case studies of epidemics, environmental threats and acts of terrorism EIS has dealt with. McKenna puts readers on the scene with doctors discovering the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic in 1980. She tells of an EIS team that in 1994 traveled to Zaire to assist in a cholera epidemic sparked by a genocidal war. After 9/11, EIS investigated the anthrax attacks that were spread through the mails. McKenna, a senior medical writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, provides an inside look at how EIS workers are trained. Recruits, selected through a competitive process, are given refresher courses in epidemiology, statistical analysis and interviewing techniques before beginning a two-year on-the-job training. McKenna's personal portraits of these dedicated health professionals illuminate the bravery as well as the anxiety that accompany this demanding work.
Reviewed on: 08/01/2004 Release date: 08/01/2004 Genre: Nonfiction