Book Review: Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service by Mark Pendergrast | Science News

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Book Review: Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service by Mark Pendergrast

Review by Rachel Zelkowitz

By
11:18am, June 18, 2010

In 1951, a group of American men suited up to go to war. This wasn’t unusual at the time — the Korean War was on — but this brigade was armed with field notebooks and test tubes, and was trained to take aim at threats to public health. Inside the Outbreaks tells the story of this little-known corps, the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Taking a historical approach to the subject, Pendergrast, a science journalist, uses interviews and archival materials to bring to life the people of the EIS, such as the service’s founder, epidemiologist Alexander Langmuir, described by his daughter as someone who “people knew when he entered the room.”

After training, “

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