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Media Contact: Janet Christenbury 14 October 2004    
  (404) 727-8599   Print  | Email ]

AJC Reporter Reads from New Book on CDC at Emory University
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Maryn McKenna will read from her new book, "Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service," in Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health on Monday, November 1.

The 7 p.m. event will be free and open to the public. It will be held in the Rita Anne Rollins Room on the 8th floor of the School. For more information and directions call (404) 712-9266.

For "Beating Back the Devil," published by Free Press, Ms. McKenna was given unprecedented access to the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), an elite corps of epidemiologists within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who are always packed and ready to fly to the scene of a new disease outbreak anywhere in the U.S. or around the world.

"Beating Back the Devil" chronicles this unit's history since its formation in 1951 and describes its performance in health crises caused by Ebola, West Nile Virus, SARS, and other challenging diseases.

"McKenna's research is painstakingly meticulous, an d the doctors she profiles come across as brave firefighters of microbiological conflagrations," says "Not since Sherwin Nuland has an author so effectively revealed the dramatic side of medicine."

Says Publishers Weekly: "Given unique access to the EIS, McKenna presents 11 case studies of epidemics, environmental threats and acts of terrorism EIS has dealt with. McKenna puts readers on the scene with doctors discovering the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic in 1980. She tells of an EIS team that in 1994 traveled to Zaire to assist in a cholera epidemic sparked by a genocidal war. After 9/11, EIS investigated the anthrax attacks that were spread through the mails.`McKenna's personal portraits of these dedicated health professionals illuminate the bravery as well as the anxiety that accompany this demanding work."

Maryn McKenna is a national desk science and medical writer at the AJC, where she writes about domestic and global public health, bioterrorism and health policy. Previously, she worked for the Boston Herald, where stories she co-wrote on illnesses among veterans of the first Persian Gulf War led to the first Congressional hearings on Gulf War Syndrome, and at the Cincinnati Enquirer, where she investigated the association between local cancer clusters and a federal nuclear weapons plant.

Ms. McKenna is a graduate of Georgetown University, has a master's degree from Northwestern University and has held fellowships at Harvard Medical School, University of Maryland and University of Michigan. She has won numerous national and state awards for her writing.

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