“The next day I was no better. I got a colleague to take some blood, and sent it off for blood tests. My platelet count was very low. We sent off blood from Dr. Shafiq as well and his platelets were also very low. Then we thought this is it. This is Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever. We knew we were going to die. I had had a close friend, one year senior to me at medical school. He died of the same disease after operating on a patient at the same hospital in Quetta….I remembered his story, and I told Dr. Shafiq I am very much scared of his death. The whole story came back to me….I think just three or four days before his death he was engaged to marry a doctor from Quetta. I had also become engaged to be married…I told Dr. Shafiq that this is the same story which is repeating itself….The day just before his engagement, my friend came to my room in Karachi…He told me he was running a temperature. He said, ‘Take my pulse; it is one hundred twenty per minute.’.. He said, ‘I have a fever, and I operated on a patient in Quetta a few days ago, and the patient died the next day.’ We said no more. Then he said, ‘Tomorrow, you must come to my residence in Karachi for my engagement ceremony….’ I went to the ceremony. My friend was there, looking very smart and bright, but he was running a temperature. We took him to the emergency room of the Aga Khan University Hospital….They sent him for a chest X-ray, and as he sood there for it to be done, he collapsed. Nobody was recognizing the fact that he might be suffering from such a severe disease.”
I listened to Jamil’s description and shook my head. Taking a good history is essential to any clinical examination. We had seen it in Chicago, in the Middle East, in Pakistan, across Africa, and in so many other places. It was surprising that the local medical profession was not more aware of what had happened to the surgeons who were ealier stricken with CCHF in Islamabad. Afte3r all, the incident had been well published.
"Level 4" is an exciting adventure story that brings readers intimately into the dangerous regions where virus outbreaks occur, and even more intimately into the lives of the scientists and the despairing patients they seek to save….Throughout this book the two veterans relate their stories in the first person, and occasionally it can be a bit unclear just which one is the narrator. But it really doesn't matter, because "Level 4" is an absorbing tale, packed with humor, danger, science, tragedy and even occasional triumph.
San Francisco Chronicle
“Exotic, deadly viruses are big news these days…But what’s it like to have these infectious agents be the things you face every morning when you get up and go to work? Scientifically fascinating and socially uplifting – and pretty scary, too – is the answer that a husband and wife team of epidemiologists…give in this revealing and occasionally gripping book.”
Book World, Washington Post
What is it like to be depressed? The experience varies widely but to put it simply: when you’re depressed you might feel as ill as when you have the flu, but it’s a mysterious process because there is a sense that although you should be able to shake it off; you learn that there is little you can do to overcome it. If you’re depressed, you may feel so isolated that the world seems a strange and hardened place.