Tuesday, October 17, 2017
 
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Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government Minimize
 

Based on declassified government documents, in-depth interviews, and access to Plum Island itself, this is an eye-opening, suspenseful account of a federal government germ laboratory gone terribly wrong. For the first time, Lab 257 takes you deep inside this secret world and presents startling revelations on virus outbreaks, biological meltdowns, infected workers, the periodic flushing of contaminated raw sewage into area waters, and the insidious connections between Plum Island, Lyme disease, and the deadly West Nile virus. The book also probes what's in store for Plum Island's new owner, the Department of Homeland Security, in this age of bioterrorism.Strictly off limits to the public, Plum Island is home to virginal beaches, cliffs, forests, ponds -- and the deadliest germs that have ever roamed the planet. Lab 257 blows the lid off the stunning true nature and checkered history of Plum Island. It shows that the seemingly bucolic island in the shadow of New York City is a ticking biological time bomb that none of us can safely ignore.

   

Based on declassified government documents, in-depth interviews, and access to Plum Island itself, this is an eye-opening, suspenseful account of a federal government germ laboratory gone terribly wrong. For the first time, Lab 257 takes you deep inside this secret world and presents startling revelations on virus outbreaks, biological meltdowns, infected workers, the periodic flushing of contaminated raw sewage into area waters, and the insidious connections between Plum Island, Lyme disease, and the deadly West Nile virus. The book also probes what's in store for Plum Island's new owner, the Department of Homeland Security, in this age of bioterrorism.

Lab 257 is a call to action for those concerned with protecting present and future generations from preventable biological catastrophes.

That the United States government engaged in dangerous biological research during World War II will come as no surprise to Americans jaded by revelations of secret medical experiments and radiation exposures. But that the accident-plagued facility where it happened--and continues to happen--is just off the coast of Long Island may alarm many readers of Michael Christopher Carroll's Lab 257. Carroll, an attorney by trade, gamely takes on complex microbiology and shady government record-keeping in telling the story of Plum Island, home of the Animal Disease Center--no place for a casual picnic. The lab, initially set up by the Army to research ways of destroying Soviet farm animals (and to keep them from destroying ours), has often dealt with bacteria and viruses that can be passed from animals to humans. Carroll draws compelling causal links between Plum Island and the introduction of Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and duck enteritis, all non-native germs that wreaked sudden havoc in North America, and all germs that Plum Island scientists were allegedly working with. With hurricanes and terrorists on his mind, Carroll asks readers to imagine a scenario in which the Plum Island lab might release pathogens into the most densely populated area in the country. He ends the book with two chilling questions. First, does the United States need a research facility that investigates animal pathogens with potential for human transmission? Second, considering that Plum Island never had a particularly good safety record, is it the right place for such a facility? Lab 257, while occasionally veering into unsupported speculation, introduces key questions to the debate on biological security in the 21st century. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

 
This strong first effort by New York lawyer Carroll centers on a U.S. government biological research center devoted to studying such exotic and virulent diseases as African swine fever, Rift Valley fever, foot-and-mouth disease and West Nile virus. Plum Island is quietly nestled a mere two miles off of Long Island, 85 miles from New York City, and Carroll argues convincingly that the island is dangerously insecure. Based on sedulous research into declassified government files and interviews with Plum Island scientists and employees, he offers clear and convincing evidence that Plum Island is rife with the potential for a catastrophic disaster eith?r from an accident or, equally frightening, terrorist action. Carroll raises two chilling questions: Is there a connection between Lyme disease and Plum Island research? (Old Lyme, Conn., the location of the disease's initial 1975 outbreak, is close to Plum Island.) And what about West Nile virus, which also suddenly appeared in close proximity to Plum Island? Carroll offers clear descriptions of the dangers inherent in studying deadly viruses that could infect untold numbers of humans, disrupt the food supply or cripple an entire industry—dangers heightened by a lack of even minimally adequate security. The author acknowledges that the times demand that the U.S. have a research facility like the one at Plum Island and ends this provocative book with a list of reasonable, well-conceived suggestions on how to make the research lab safe, or at least safer. Readers will hope that someone takes notice. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
 
 

 
 
 


 

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