The Fatal Strain

The Fatal Strain

On the Trail of Avian Flu and the Coming Pandemic

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143118305
  • 416 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


In 2009, Swine Flu reminded us that pandemics still happen, and award- winning journalist Alan Sipress reminds us that far worse could be brewing. When a highly lethal strain of avian flu broke out in Asia in 2003 and raced westward, Sipress, as a reporter for The Washington Post, tracked the virus across nine countries, watching its secrets elude the world’s brightest scientists and most intrepid disease hunters. A vivid portrayal of the struggle between man and microbe, The Fatal Strain is a fast-moving account that weaves cultural, political, and scientific strands into a tale of inevitable pandemic.


“This is a book about much more than a lethal threat from the influenza virus. It’s about the fog of war, about reality, about the gap between those who make plans and those who carry them out. And ultimately it’s about heroism and determination. There are lessons here for everyone, and in compelling fashion this book drives those lessons home.”——John M. Barry, author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

“Alan Sipress has produced a vivid and enthralling story that could not be more timely. Ever evolving, ever elusive, influenza threatens us on a scale far worse than anything we’ve yet seen. Sipress pursues the deadly strain through Asia with tenacious energy, revealing the true scale of the danger, and the terrifying inadequacy of our readiness to face it.”——Pete Davies, Author of Devil’s Flu and Inside the Hurricane

The Fatal Strain reads like a gripping medical mystery novel-only it is not. It is the true story of the scary world of pandemic influenza expertly written by one of the leading ‘flu journalists’ of our time. Although the H1N1 (swine) influenza pandemic is unfolding before us, we must not take our eye off of avian influenza, as it very well may lead to a deadly “one-two pandemic punch.” Anyone who cares about what might happen to their loved ones, friends or colleagues should read this book.”——Michael T. Osterholm PhD, MPH., Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota

“Masterfully paced, gripping work”——Seed

“Exemplary—and highly frightening—investigative reporting.”——Kirkus (starred review)

“Timely, given today’s headline-bursting thread of swine flu (H1N1). It is…a cautionary tale [as] influenza is about politics.”——Booklist

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