tv Panel Discussion on Epidemics CSPAN March 26, 2017 9:30am-10:27am EDT
spent west. new york times former asia correspondent howard prince reports on china's global ambitions in everything under the heavens. and immunologists stephen hatch recalls his work in liberia during the west african ebola outbreak in inferno. a look at publishers weekly's most anticipated books of the spring continues with locking up our own. defender james foreman's thoughts on the role african-american leaders played in the rise of mass incarceration. that book comes out in april. also that month, new york times science reporter gino kalama examines how a genetic anomaly affected a family in south carolina in mercies in disguise and in the best band under heaven, michael wallace pries the history of america's western expansion through the ill-fated journey of the donner party. and published in may, former secretary of state condoleezza rice weighs in on the challenges inherent to a democracy in the mock receipt
, the long road to freedom. but look at some of the books that publishers weekly is most anticipating being published this spring. look for these titles and bookstores in the coming weeks and months and watch for the authors on book tv. >> good afternoon. welcome to the ninth annual tucson festival of books, my name is matt russell, i'm ceo of russell public communications and it will be a privilege for the me to moderate this session. i'd like to thank fox communications for sponsoring this venue. mister mcneil is sponsored by research corporation for science advancement and mister churkin is sponsored by the university of arizona
bio five institute. the presentation will last an hour including questions and answers, hold your questions until the final part of the program and we will manage the questions from the floor. immediately following the session, mister mcneil will be autographing his book in the sales and assigning area in the tent on the ball, that is booth number 141. books are available for purchase at this location. mister mcneil will be about 20 minutes late to the signing area due to a live interview with c-span following the program and i want to say hello to our c-span television audience watching live right now. we hope you enjoy the festival and invite you to become afriend of the festival today by texting friend 252-0214 book , at 520214 2665. as shown in the sign at the front of the room or visit the friends of the festival booth number 110 on the mall. your gift will make a difference in keeping festival programming free of charge and supporting public read critical literacy programs in the community. i have respect for the authors, i ask you to please turn off your cell phone as i
introduce our panelists this afternoon. joel shurkin is the author of the invisible fire: the story of mankind's triumph over the ancient scourge of smallpox. the book came out in 1979 although you may have seen mister joel shurkin about his true book "true genius: the life and work of richard garwin, the most influential scientist you've never heard of". a lot of people now have heard of it and they're talking about it today. joel shurkin is a freelance writer in baltimore, a former science writer at the philadelphia inquirer and was part of the team that won a pulitzer prize recovering three mile island in 1979. that same year he won the national association of science teachers best children's science book, an award for his book jupiter, the star that failed. he has 10 published books and
taught journalism at stanford university, university of california at santa cruz and university of alaska fairbanks. we are also privileged to have donald mcneil with us who has a book "zika: the emerging epidemic". donald mcneil is a science and cultural writer for the new york times, specializing in plagues and pestilences. he covers diseases of the world poor including aids, e bola, malaria, swine and bird flu, mad cow disease and far. he joined the times is a copy boy and has been an environmental reporter, peter columnist and editor. i'd like another hour for this session please. he has won awards for stories about cities that have exceptionally fought aids, about patent monopolies that keep drug prices high in africa diseases that cannot be . this afternoon we're talking about epidemics old and new, around of applause for our
panelists this afternoon. [applause] gentlemen, before we really dig into these diseases i'd like to invite you to offer some introductoryremarks about your work . that we are talking about here and really what we set out to accomplish with them, joel? >> there is a well-known phenomenon among journalists, particularly medical writers known as medical writers syndrome that when you write about a disease, you get all the symptoms. you must have a hell of a life. >> i wrote the book about smallpox at the time when they had announced it had been eradicated. it turned out they were wrong bya couple months . smallpox is, was in a sense one of the worst epidemics in history. we think as many as half 1 billion people died from it and if they did not die
nicely from it, it's a terrible disease. sometimes or three days or you'd be perfectly well walking down the street and you are dead the next evening. it carried by a virus, very old. to this day, there is no cure. fortunately, there is no disease. one of the things i, one of the reasons i like the book is because it was a lot of fun to write. i'm sorry, but it was. i had to go to somalia where i interviewed the last human being to get smallpox. there was an accident in a laboratory in london a couple years later that killed several lab workers and the lab she committed suicide shortly thereafter. the ambulance driver and in somalia was the last human being to catch smallpox. i have a son who is 47 has the same scar that i had, it's here someplace. the smallpox scar that every
child in america, every child in the world got. i have a son five years later who has no such scar. in the interim a stock the vaccination. the virus itself still exists, it's in deep freeze in atlanta at cdc and the russians have a sample, nobody knows exactly where. as long as they stay in the deep-freeze, we are safe . if it gets out, we are in serious trouble. >> do you have a scar as medical writers syndrome? >> i thought it was lousy, i was getting recurring fevers every afternoon. i had come back from columbia where i was covering zika and thinking i couldn't have gotten so unlucky and i started to talk about this and doctor heard me cough and said get up on the table and he took one listen to my chest and said i know what you have, nothing exotic. i had pneumonia but had
diagnosed of course as zika and i had a whole list of other diseases they could have diagnosed it as and i wouldn't have worried about it but the book i had written is about zika, i've been covering diseases mostly of the world but all infectious diseases 1997 when i was a correspondent in africa. i started covering aids there, that's how i shifted from being a broadway theater correspondent to science news from when i came back from overseas. 10 years ago acolleague and i wrote a whole series about diseases on the brink of eradication . and i said this discussion, then zika is caused zika beginning in the sense for quite a while. i think it's going to be a long time before they think about eradicating it but there had been to eradicated in the history of mankind, nobody remembers the second one but it was eradicated a few years ago and people don't know about it because it's an animal disease, it kills cloven hooved animals
and that may not seem important but if you are in east africa in the 19th century when the disease reached africa from asia, it turns out it wiped out all the, virtually all the game and all the cattle in west africa and a third of the horn of africa start today from the disease. it was eradicated by the efforts of the lot of the working veterinarians who finally realized they had to stop taxing the cows themselves to vaccinate animals and a trained the herders in somalia and north virginia ut other animals to go through the and stick them with the vaccine so it the second disease was eradicated. doug and i, my partner and i wrote about polio, and guinea worm, those are the diseases that should be eradicated any year now. measles, elephantiasis and iodine efficiency. and when you go to eradicated disease, once you have a
solution, once you have a good working vaccine for one dose that provides long-lasting protection. once you've gotten that good solution, it's relatively easy to get the first 99 percent of the disease and is absolutely, it takes years sometimes decades, we have been fighting polio. the fight to start polio was by rotary international in 1988 and was going to be there millennial gift to the world and back then they raised $200 million in the fight and got down to 99 percent and were still fighting polio and bill gates is putting $1 billion a year into the fight below 100 cases. it's like squeezing gelatin, when you think you've gotten it, it pops up. a few years ago but we eradicated nafta and a couple cases popped up last year and the reason is the disease process in places where people are not only poor but
there's worldwide, you can't vaccinate through the testing to find out whether people have it so now we know there's a population of polio in northern nigeria and the state area where bogle rob and nigeria come out reedit. >> and we also know that it's on the border of pakistan and afghanistan in the. [indiscernable] areas along there. but it's a combination of war and also just bad luck. guinea worm, there are a few pockets in the world but it made the jump into dogs and people were talkingfished us there dogs , though the worms and now they got more cases and often the you and people and dogs reinspected the drinking water where the people from so there's going to be a whole new problem back. so it's a long, complicated, discouraging effort, every diseases different but it's
fascinating to write about them. >> were going toget to the heart of the battle with these diseases in a bit . which i think have all the makings of a major hollywood thriller and as you're going to hear, there's even lying, cheating and stealing that's going on in the courts but let's start before the 10 hit paper. joel, the first case of smallpox was reported thousands of years ago. eradication victory declared 40 years ago. i'm curious, how did you get your head around researching this disease that literally changed history? >> it was my job. it fascinated me. smallpox is actually an easy disease to eradicate relatively speaking. several characteristics of polio for example. we could probably do not happen. i was watching television and they made a brief announcement that smallpox had been eradicated and i said there's a book in there. it turned out there was a book in there, i traveled all around the world to report.
so i had an awfully good time doing it. we spent some time in northern india demonstrating to the people who live there that the vaccination was painless, it wasn't a big deal and we stand up on the back of jeeps and go like this and stab our arms. i now am the most smallpox imaging immune human being . it was a challenge and the people involved in it were challenged as well. the book is somewhat controversial, there are times when the virus was not the enemy, the bureaucracy of the worldhealth organization was the enemy . and for the lying, cheating and stealing the people in the world kept running up against the world health organization and learned to get around the bureaucracy. da anderson was the man who ran the smallpox program who tried a couple months ago. blames me and my book for
their not getting a nobel prize for medicine. i hope he's not right. >> because i honestly deserve it. >> what about you donald? zika didn't hit the global consciousness and no 1947 in uganda so you have an advantage over joel since you had to pull only 70 years of stories. >> and there were very few stories because the disease was noticed, discovered in 1947 in monkeys, reese is number 744. and it was in a cage, in a tree in an impenetrable forest and uganda, they disappeared and tested for a long time. it only came on the radar a couple years ago when it started and somehow left asia and started crossing the south pacific and there was an outbreak on now the island that the cdc investigated, they went there because now island is one of the islands we fought over in world war ii and they have a contract with the state that the
united states provides micronesia so they went there to comprises mystery virus of zika but there was no, they didn't notice anything. and it turned outto central polynesia in 2013 and their , it was investigated as raising the population, 66 percent of the population in six months and they did notice an uptick in cases which is a form of temporary paralysis that usually and sometimes fatal but terrifying paralysis but they didn't notice anything about babies.it was only when the disease got to brazil that it took the brazilian some months to figure out what was going on and then they were relieved, the health administration so this is good news, we were afraid this was a new strain of dengue but it turned out to be zika and they said that the mild disease. it was only in late august, early september in the
northeast they had a tremendous epidemic of zika nine months before doctors worked in the intensive care units in the pediatric intensive care unit began to talk to each other and say, i think it was a mother and daughter team and they said hey, i have, i normally see one or two microcell babies year, i have five and my work right now and their daughters and seven and they started calling up doctors and realize something happened and they started going to the mothers and realized a number of them had symptoms 6 to 9 months before. that's when the alarm went out. in my case, i had heard of zika two or three months before because i got a phone call out of the blue on the public relations person from the university of texas medical branch and he said there's a doctor here scott weaver would like to talk to you about dengue and i said i know i should be writing more about dengue but they've been around a few years now and i have different things to do, i'm not sure there's anything new and he said there's this
other disease called zika, a catchy name, what is it so and up talking about scarlet fever and he told me some of the background about asia and friends polynesia and the fact that there was a connection but there was some mention of microcephaly, it wasn't known and i took notes and as i often do, put them, sign them and dated them and put them in my head scratcher file which is all my guess, i figured i would get to it eventually when i could get through this pile and it was in, it was a week after christmas, where i was at newsweek waiting for a, looking for an item, i wrote a 300 word column every week along with other overages for an item and saw out of brazil , they were saying the health ministry and asked women to stop having children.
and that made my antenna shoot up immediately. you never hear that kind of thing. yes, they had one child policy but other than that i've never heard of the health policy asking women to stop having children. it's not a policy you want to follow because you keep it up there's not going to be any more brazilians and i call the only doctor i knew at the time and said is this true, are these babies damaged? he said yes, it's terrifying. we don't know what it was, we year, lots of mosquito bites. we don't know if the disease zika is causing it by itself, we don't know mothers previous infections for something else. we don't know much about this disease but it's devastating and we're trying to look it up so i wrote a story that they, november 29 i think and call the small story, we called our rio bureau chief and he and i collaborated on the front page story a day later.>> and we got off to the races. >> signing alarm, the one smallpox model in the late 70s and it's been said that the engagement was more like conventional warfare. can you talk about that? >> one of the weaknesses of
the smallpox virus is it has no animal rivers or. courage, it doesn't hide in animals, it doesn't fly around with mosquitoes if you could break the chain between one infection and another, you would stop the infection. >> the standard way of doing it was to vaccinate everybody around. >> give some thought thought to the idea of vaccinating everybody in india, vaccinating everybody in bangladesh or pakistan or nigeria, nearly doesn't work it works in western countries smallpox was unheard of by the middle of the 20th century and some of the smallpox vaccinations and they were mostly but not entirely were surely not entirely american figured out , they didn't really have to do that and they deemed it was impossible to do that what they found out was if you had a case of smallpox, you would find every person who had any contact with that
person and then you'd draw a circle around them, investing everybody in the circle but if you had somebody with smallpox in town a, you would vaccinate everybody in town a and the surrounding, don't bother with be , c or d. that broke it, that was how it was done. they had several other diseases they did not have. the vaccine itself goes back to 1769. with edward jenner who discovered that very mate would get sores on their hands called cowpox and when they had the cowpox, they never got smallpox and they figured out what would happen if you took the material from the sores on their hands and gave it to somebody, would that give them immunity as well? it turned out it did, there was a seven-year-old boy named fitz, with the mother's depression i hope. injected, he took some cowpox in his arm and then deliberately put the vaccine
or virus from the smallpox into another wound later on. to watch what happened, so you had a very good vaccinate or, second of all you could freeze dry. they did not need refrigeration, you could carry it from once in the desert without having to worry about electricity. they also invented something called a bifurcated needle which looks this and has a view on top. what they would do is they would put fluid, glycerin into the drive vaccine, put the fluid on your arm. just to break the skin and that's all it requires. certainly they tell you that from experience. we learn to smile as we did this.
>> and those characteristics do not exist in any other disease so once they got themselves organized and went to the people from cdc and the world health organization, figured out a way of isolating those. >> so that's the war one but we are still engaged in war of zika. two days ago the cdc updated its zika travel guidance and recommends pregnant women not traveled to any area where there is a risk of zika and infection so what does today's battle look like on the zika front? >> it's a little unclear because it's still cold, we've been through year one. from my point of view we did very badly . in learning to fight the epidemic and the advice from women to simply wear deep and long sleeves, a bunch of bringing women to wear long sleeves is not enough. not a single city in the
western hemisphere with the exception of miami actually stop the virus, all those pictures of trucks driving up and down streets blowing for about the back were mostly public relations, mosquitoes live in close proximity to people. you have 80's in tucson and you had zika 200 miles to the south. if you are going to be a high risk area, sometime in the near future. >> and it may be a race to the virus and vaccine. >>. >> it's mostly a mild disease. but it is completely devastating to fetuses although it is dangerous for pregnant women.what upset me and some of this is going in the book is that either the cdc nor the who would clearly speak out and say if you can avoid getting pregnant during the high season of zika transmission
in your town, please avoid it and we will help you avoid it by giving you contraception. the cdc was sneaking contraceptives in puerto rico in large amounts but it wasn't saying anything about it. it was saying you should talk to your doctor. many women don't have doctors as a teenager. and yes, it's true that it's difficult for women to get teenagers to prevent themselves from getting pregnant but it's never been true that it's been in the hospital for everyone and the other thing that i think they should have talked about was abortion, there are countries in this hemisphere where abortion is legal and for the mothers, you may have seen a story in the new york times today area and my colleague evangelical time with mothers who have zika babies and these babies cannot make eye contact, tiny heads which they never have anything like memory or thought. they often are cramped up like this. they are actually, they have aspiration, pneumonia or constant seizures and had those mothers been able to choose, some may have chosen and i think that should have
been made in the countries where it was legal, made clear and available to them . nobody should force anyone to have used contraception or abortion but to make it available and discuss it which is something both those agencies were doing. i think, there's kelly women in that position, to put on long sleeves and hope for protection from nine months, i don't know anybody who's ever going to be able to avoid having child for nine months. >> as is often the case in these battles, especially talking about full diseases. politics and money emerge as central players reedit and ironically i think dealing with the science itself, we get to a little bit more on the who in a minute because i want to get back to that talk about the role that politics plays, good bad or otherwise along the path towards smallpox eradication. >> truly it was one of the shining moments of the book, this is during the cold war. so we were antagonistic with russia and yet the group of
people that i hung around with at the world health organization comprise just about every country in the world and they were all actually cooperating. russia and the americans, the russians were helping the russians. the guy who was meeting me aroundwas checked reedit and czechoslovakia was a communist country. the money was available . smallpox had gotten to the point where as this happens with many diseases, it became a childhood disease and children would get it, they would either die or wouldn't die, if they wouldn't die, they were immune for the rest. >> it became relatively easy to keep them out of the country, the united states spent millions of dollars with people at every port of treatment in this country to look for somebody who would be coming in with smallpox . >> it was one of the best examples i know of international cooperation and could not have been done. >>.
>> we were talking just before the session and i shared with you some of my experiences looking in federal health policy doing a lot of nih appropriations work as you know all too well the politics of fighting disease.but from a funding perspective, you saidfighting some diseases becomes a fad . fighting others doesn't reedit and it's being rational, can you talk about that? >> more people die of tuberculosis. >> than almost any other disease in the world but tv for some reason has sort of lost its status and there is a un aide who specializes in fighting aids. tuberculosis and aids epidemics are linked area as often with people with immune systems that end up dying of tuberculosis but that a disease that is ut of fashion, that there is a great deal of money spent on aids, breast cancer gets a great deal more money than other kinds of cancer. the cause it's, i think it
becomes popular, it becomes a cause. flu is also pretty well financed, were disease around the world, and diarrhea and pneumonia are most kids, they are under five around the world, they are fighting diarrhea and pneumonia means a whole lot of other things. but you don't hear the attention paid to it and you don't see the kind of fundraising efforts either from individuals or countries and when disease like polio catches on and often one group like rotary, this they say this is our disease, were going to make our name getting rid of it. that's a great deal of focus, i'm in favor of fighting all diseases, i'm not saying we ought to leave this disease alone but it is true that some diseases get a lot more attention because of sort of a disease to fight. >> have you seen that we've its way through the public sector as well as the private sector?
>> it's a combination of newspaper coverage, advocacy and leads to newspaper coverage leading to attention from politicians leading to money from congress or wherever. >> the world health organization, we can do an hour and a half on the who. >>. >> joal, you said the world health organization was a hero and the villain in your book. you talk about it but i want you to tell a little bit, sounds like there's drama in thisdichotomy . >> there was drama, the world health organization was a very large bureaucracy.>> is my theory based on no facts whatsoever that the reason they, the way they are is because on a gorgeous hill, a long and beautiful trees, the people work there who call themselves internationalists, one thing they don't pay any taxes. >>
i always thought if i took the kids with gabby's and put them on the front lawn of the world health organization to remind them about what they're supposed be doing the world to be a better place. the people who are out in the field spent a great deal of time trying to get the resources they need and the permission they need to do what they needed to do. for example, they needed more trucks and more deep in india and for some reason or other that people in geneva decided they didn't need more deep and more trucks. so, they stole them. and when they were done with them they returned them wherever they stolen from an inoculating people. there was a woman, while never forget, a french researcher a lovely state we woman had two dresses, she'd wear 11 day, wash and wear it the next day and
this is how she went to life because she was always out in the field. she told me how she learn to cry when necessary. to go up to a bureaucrat and they know you can't do this whereupon she went on to you, weep. and she swore to me she always got what she needed to get. the fight between the people in the field and the people back in geneva, was so bad that when the book did come out that anderson try to disown what he told me. i had it on tape and actually do that. the world health organization did not get a nobel prize which they deserved but they were sabotaged. >> if you're talking about the world 80 affirming grin you said that the world health organization despite its importance in stopping economics is essentially powerless.
how will it impact the fight? >> let the tweeting begin. the big deadline. >> at the time people have occasionally said let's we want to do something big in the gate foundation. if the 800-pound gorilla of global health. shouldn't we look at into the problem of causing it? yes it has become the 800-pound gorilla but the truth is the 80e it was the 800-pound float called the world health organization. it absolutely needed someone else driving it. at the same time, the world health organization actually has a tiny budget, two-point to billion dollars. i'm writing a piece about the race for the director general of global organization. the first time the electing cause i democratically.
they have 8000 employees. they haven't $8.2 billion 2 billion-dollar budget which is a quarter of the cdc's budget and half the new york post at syrian hospital. the employees, many of them are scattered in local offices and regional offices. there's a great deal of time wasted in battling back and forth with local and regional offices in geneva and they often don't do what people want to do. they had terrible leadership problems. three quarters of their budget is not from un dues but from donations. the united states, great britain, melinda gates, norway, japan and other powers give them three quarters of their budget and that comes with strings attached, i've heard a who call it a straitjacket. you can spend it on this but you can't spend it on this. one of the things that the money
gets spent on, proportional polio. that's formally the rotary pet project. i'm in favor of eradicating polio but it takes up a lot of time. at the who is essential for doing things like biting ebola. they did a bad time, it took them months to get them cranking, doctors without borders was fighting the disease alone in africa. the who used to have teams, rapid teams, rapid response team that would leave geneva to tackle ebola after. they isolated patients by burying the dead and by decontaminating them with bleach. but the last one in 2014 got away from them and the people who fled from the villages where the epidemic, fled to the capitals. the disease began to spread from the capitals and from that.was
out of control for quite a while >> in the field in central africa, you are living in tents, driving a jeep i imagine what the weather was like we have steak, we have alligators, and you are having a pitched battle over postage stamps. >> at the same time, the who is the only organization i can declare a public emergency which you need to do to get it alerted. it gets a lot of countries cranking there own equivalent cdc to fight the disease. also, when you have an epidemic they oversee the coordination of the network of laboratories, national laboratories and sometimes state laboratories around the world, making them share virus samples with each other so that you have a sense
of what's happening and what direction it's moving in. in the age of debt travel is very important. the who -- countries don't like to report that they have diseases. bill cover up diseases, they don't like to report it because it means either business travel and, terrorism or you can no longer export food from your country if your reputation is bad. if they wound here national pride to say that yes we have this horrible fatal disease and we can't control it. countries often don't report as members of the united nations and the who have to report. it takes a while for the who to beat it out of them but they managed to get the news out. also, when you fight want to fight an epidemic you need hundreds of doctors flying in, countries in west africa had a
cup couple hundreds of doctors and most of them died in the first wave of the epidemic. when the cdc sends a hundred doctors to a to the scene very often those doctors and military uniform, there in in the military or the public health service and when then several hundred troops from another country land in your country, your national pride can be wounded quite a bit if you're sierra leone or libya or guinea. the fact that the who is medical peacekeeping troops rather than doctors is the important psychological effect to being able to fight the academic. >> we talk about the news, and is a public representative, the media is an important group and i respect your nod to the public relations, it was smallpox was eradicated before mobile
devices, blogging, blogging, tweeting and in the absence of a digital derivative media what role did the media play in the 60s, 70s, 80s. >> none that i can think of. >> is a good thing or a bad thing? >> good thing. smallpox had disappeared in europe. it had disappeared in north america. pretty much disappeared in south america by the 1970s. certainly not in japan or china but it existed in undeveloped countries and we tend to ignore undeveloped countries. we were very careful in keeping people who might have smallpox by guarding our borders. some of you may be old enough to remember traveling overseas and you had to carry little yellow card that said you been vaccinated with any number of
things including smallpox, actually actually. when you got off the plane from london one of the things they wanted to see was your passport in health certificate. it worked. there was an occasional case in new york city and in every single instance it was someone who came from overseas who was carrying the virus with them. by and large, the underdeveloped world had and we weren't paying attention. >> certainly we were paying attention to zika last year. we had surroundsound as a media perspective. olympians deciding whether or not to go to rio. daily headlines on the battle and $1.1 billion to spray south florida and provide health care at torrey in the territories and i can see that you might be biased but did the media change? >> since i kind of started it at least in the northern hemisphere. yeah, we were game changers.
i was shocked when i realized -- when i saw that asking around ideas for a column i saw this news item a local cnn affiliate in brazil that picked it up and mentioned it and i called the cdc and said, what about this was mark i looked at their website and they said someone will have to get back to you tomorrow on this. this disease appears to be attacking the babies opinion women. why is there a travel advisory for pregnant women? they said we basically haven't talked about it yet. as i reported on it, the cdc kept i was getting phone calls from the pregnant women saying i don't know what to do and supposed to go to a family wedding i'm three months pregnant, and i am ma'am i'm a
reporter with a ba in rhetoric. you should get medical advice from doctors. i called my doctor and he seems to think i'm fine but there's no guidance from the cdc. good god, no don't go. i don't understand why the cdc is not clean out a warning. there's basically me screaming at todd skinner saying why aren't you issue mean a warning. were working on it. but the problem is i'm getting more calls from tiger women and i'm calling the cruise companies and airline companies and their attitude is the cdc says the find to go. women should just be careful from getting bit by mosquitoes and they should be wearing deep and long sleeves. mia plenty of beat on our cruise ships so we don't plan what i demanded an interview with the head of migration and 14 and he
was very tt knowing that he wasn't allowed to say that were discussing it with our partners. we have to let our partners know before they found out in the media. he meant that we are calling mexico and all of the cities in latin america and caribbean to let them in their ambassadors know that we are about to drop a neutron bomb on their tourism trade and their business travel and to let them know. that should come later. this is january in new york city, a lot lot of pregnant women are getting on planes and ships. and they're in danger. issue it now. they finally said it was going to come out in an hour. it them until 7:00 p.m. at night to say it. they finally issued it and a neutron bomb dropped. macro to go to your questions in just a minute but i'm curious
with smallpox having been wiped out, what is next on the eradication horizon? are we still in that 1% we've gone to the 99 fairly well checked off. >> if i were to bet it would i would say polio. it may take years. that 1% may be permanent. viruses out there and they're going to stay out there and they won't leave us alone. that will be my guess. >> is going to be polio or ginny worms. they're down to fewer than 100 cases cases a year. but they been down below 300 cases for many years and problems keep popping up. i'm hoping jimmy carter is still alive to see the ginny worms. it's looking more dicey. although he is aware of it and i'm hoping bill gates is money
doesn't run out before polio is eradicated. [laughter] >> what lessons can we learn from science and even from golf smallpox story. try to give you some encouragement about these zika outbreaks unless there's a second edition of your book in the works. >> not that i know of. i learned today that i have a sponsor when i introduce me. i didn't know that. [laughter] i get the prize all the time. i think we'll be talking about zika again. right now, what stopped zika, except in miami and it can always come back -- when i was a cop reported the police would say is the best top on the force , jack frost. why ? because people go indoors and stop killing each other. [laughter] deck frost is also the best stopper of mosquito borne
diseases. it will be hot and wet again and the disease will be on the move again. we don't know how much herd immunity there is. probably more than a quarter of puerto rico got infected in the first way. once you been infected you can't get infected again you can't spin up the viral storm. puerto rico may be safe. a lot of the islands in the south pacific have zero cases because everyone got infected. in a lot of places, including the united states, there is no cured immunity. >> every expert i talk to will say the word flu within the next first two sentences, influenza. it's not if, it's when. >> people don't take flu enough seriously. every year there's the flu shot
and it loses faith and credibility. in 1918 when the event comes back as it could in anytime, people will be crying for a vaccine. >> i would like to offer the opportunity for the audience to ask questions. we have microphones on either side of the center part of the room so will only be able to take your questions if you step up to the microphone. please introduce yourself and direct your question specifically to one or both of our authors. >> thank you. question for both of you. why is there so much misinformation about vaccinations and want to be done to combat that information? oh boy. i have no absolutely idea. it makes no sense to me whatsoever and again, the first vaccine was 1769, edward
jenner's. we have proven proven that they worked in 1769. either the earth is flat or the earth's not flat. >> the vitamin industry is a lot under against the vaccination. i thought in south africa and aids, they basically said you don't need to take those antivirals, their poisons. they can be poisonous but if you have a it's with to save you. it was a vitamin salesman and the anti- vaccination is being pushed by people who have alternative cures are alternative treatment. i find that pernicious people. people who believe that the moon walk place on a sound stage in life in us.
we no say on the other hand, the vaccination center says this doesn't work. there's no question that vaccines have side effects. new vaccines need to be tested ferociously for safety but most of the routine vaccinations have arty been through that testing and some side effects do come up in some children do die but if you go on the internet and look at old medical films of kids dying from diphtheria or tetanus you'll see how horrible the consequences could be. >> great question. >> hello. my name is jenna and i'm studying to become an epidemiologist in the long run. i was wondering how difficult it is to find that balance in alerting the public about a disease outbreak versus inducing panic.
>> you have to write it very well. usually if in the second paragraph. it's not in the first paragraph. i will.out to you as every medical writer will say, people who have the disease if your uncle is dying of cancer and you see a story about a study done on mice in australia you will call the writer, no matter how many caveats people will do the very best they can and won't work. >> i see my job as trying to calm down the irrational panic about diseases and yet occasionally, trying to spread a little panic. if there's not enough attention being paid to it. wally podrazik is an example. trying to spread a little panic about zika. the flu every year. you can see the lines go up and
down every year they try to push a panic about this is a really bad flu season and it hasn't been a really bad flu season since 2009. i try to write sensible articles and not ringing the alarm bells. they've cracked the genetic sequences and he successfully predicted, the last pandemics. he was accurate. but the other 13 times, henry i'm going to keep an eye on it. it might go crazy but i'm watching here. >> dear member the panic over swine flu? and it never showed up. that's no one's fault. it was just the way science is. >> the 2009 swine flu did show up. >> thank you. >> to the disclosure, i had a
maternal grandfather grandfather was a veteran of world war i and died of tubercolsis 13 years later. my question is edward jenner -- as you pointed out he had discovered the vaccine for smallpox, however it was very rare that cowpox was rare that time and i don't know why if it disappeared but if it did disappear is that something that we need to keep in mind? the other question i have is for both of you. i've been told if you have a disease called spanish flu you can be assured it is in from spain but it's from some other country. if you have german measles the left country you can blame is germany. do you have any thoughts as regards to the identification for these diseases that have a country associated with it ?
>> there's a reason why it was called spanish flu but i can't remember. there was no military censorship in spain. the flu may have came out of kansas but the flu devastated the armies of germany and england and france and the united states but there was military censorship imposed because no one wanted to talk about the deaths over there. only when the flu got to spain and there was no military censorship that it be called the spanish flu. i don't know about german measles in light of that other comment, the man i always thought was my grandfather was actually my great uncle because my grandfather died of the spanish flu and his brother married his brother's wife. what happened in that case and i think in other cases in the past, without our modern
medicines communities do what they can to try to stop pandemics. there was a movie about six years ago called contagion that i thought was good in terms of everything that was on screen but i was disturbed by most of the stuff that was offscreen because they didn't have any recognition that there might be some social problems of getting food, and that sort of thing across borders. i'm wondering if you can comment on what passed on the epidemics and what unities have done to stem epidemics when they didn't have our modern medicine. >> they used isolation. during the black death you had entire cities and towns that
roll themselves up and would letting anybody in or out. it was fairly effective and keep in mind that these diseases including smallpox, come in waves and go. think of the black death in the 14th century which wiped out a behalf of the population of europe. the only thing they could do was to isolate the towns and villages. i ought to.out before were done there was no cure for smallpox and most viral diseases. if you caught smallpox now, which you won't, there's almost nothing they can do for you. >> the word quarantine comes from the italian word for 40 because that's how they -- when both came into the harbor, the both would have to sit in the harbor for 40 days under the assumption that any diseases on the vote would burn itself out on the vote. and they could come in. quarantine was the world way. now we make a vaccine. but they get over borders one way or another and also when you
impose a quarantine you and all trade, business, cause economic chaos and no disease can be complete. i quarantine. when the swine flu came out of mexico, close the border, and i was sitting there thinking wait a minute the first outbreak of swine flu was in new york city by catholic school students from high school in queens who had been to mexico on their spring break. are we going to close the east river and let no one leave queens? you can't stop quarantine. >> of course vaccines only work against viruses not bacteria. the bubonic plague was bacteria. regrettably we are coming to the end of our time here. this is live television. i'm so sorry.
this is not fun for me. we do want to thank our authors here for a rich discussion about epidemics. [applause] and i want to thank all for attending the session and your support of the festival and don't forget to become a friend so that the festival days free support literary programs in our community. donald mcneil will be late to the live interview. enjoy your evening. thanks for coming. [inaudible conversations] pestie look forward to talking to him about that form of reports and correspondence in africa and europe. mr. mcneil, is zika a new disease? >> no. it's thousands of years old but it was discovered in uganda in 1947. then it pretty much disappeared.