One of my favorite books in high school, long before CSI and forensic sciences became household words, was about medical detectives. These people did not show up at crime scenes. These scientists worked in laboratories, and on occasion, conducted some shoe leather epidemiology, i.e., field investigations involving outbreaks of disease that pose a public health hazard. One of the most famous, and still taught in every school of public health epidemiology course, is John Snow’s cholera research. Over time, with true shoe leather epidemiology, a map, and some push pins, Snow was able to demonstrate that the water from one contaminated pump was responsible for the epidemic. Once the handle to the pump was removed, the epidemic ceased.
Epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rarely receive on screen time in movies (except ones like OUTBREAK) or on television, unless it’s influenza season (and by the way, did you get your flu shot???) Their work is conducted quietly at computers and in laboratories—and once in a while by foot, going door to door for contact tracing to see who has been in contact with an infected patient with a contagious disease.
In SOME OTHER CHILD, Sarah Wright Rosen, RN, PhD is public health nurse researcher teaching a pediatrician how to conduct and present his research. In the course of his study, Sarah spots an anomaly and suggests a computer reanalysis of the data (see, this is not glamorous!) a pattern emerges. Babies are being born with a sexually transmitted at numbers in excess of the rest of the city population. Worse yet, it appears a sexual predator is on the loose in a local church. When the Baltimore City Police are notified, the case explodes. Notes written in blood appear at Sarah’s office and someone repeatedly attempts to kill her. Her previously pedantic, behind the scenes work, is now a dangerous endeavor, complete with a trail of clues and death threats. Who is the predator? How long has he been slithering among the innocent? When will it all come to an end?
Read SOME OTHER CHILD to find out!
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