Monday, September 21, 2009

Book Review : The Death of a Disease

The Death of a Disease DA Henderson
I really enjoyed reading this book by DA Henderson because it was the tale being told by an insider, whereas some of the other books we read for the class were more of third person accounts. I never knew one person could have such an impact on a movement as great as the smallpox eradication until I read this book, as well as Demon in the Freezer. I really enjoyed reading DA Henderson’s book, not only for that reason, but also because of his passion for eradicating smallpox. I personally do not know whether I believe that the stocks of smallpox should be destroyed, but I do know that I would agree with Henderson not wanting to keep the stocks right after the end of the eradication. I feel that his stance on this subject is really important because he was actually on the field and knew what it was like to have to struggle to give all of those vaccinations, so in a sense I feel that people should give his opinion, as well as those of people who worked along with him, a greater weight in determining whether the stocks should be kept…that is if they actually ever decide to make a decision and don’t keep pushing the dates back.
One part that I do have to disagree with Henderson on though, is whether or not eradicating another disease will be possible. While he does not think so, I have to be optimistic towards the fact. While I may be less credible because I have never actually been on the site during any eradication process, I think science has developed in such a way that eradication of certain diseases is becoming more and more possible. Take for example polio and guinea-worm disease, they have both come a long way towards being eradicated and while it may take hard work and great dedication, I think successes is likely.

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