Some 18 months ago, I idly picked up a book and began reading.
It was rather a thick book – more than 700 pages – but I was soon engrossed and enjoying the story.
The novel was written in 2017 by US author AG Riddle, who dedicated the book to all the health officials who, as he wrote, “protect us from threats that pose a danger to every human, in every nation of Earth”.
The story opens in north-east Kenya. The area is the scene of a number of terror attacks and a doctor on duty is frantically called to the exam room to check on a patient who has just been brought in.
The patient is burning with fever, is barely conscious and is also bleeding from the eyes. The doctor immediately suspects it is an outbreak similar to Ebola and the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advised.
They immediately send a response team headed by a leading epidemiologist, Dr Peyton Shaw.
According to Shaw, the nations face a world-wide outbreak of a disease quite unlike any previously documented.
She estimates that in two weeks, the planet will be infected by the sickness with a 95% fatality rate.
It’s a race against time as Dr Shaw realises that the disease is not a natural catastrophe but some villain has deliberately started the infection.
By the time 13 days have passed, almost six billion people have suffered from the disease, with nine million deaths recorded world-wide.
The book deals in detail on the battle to curb the disease and how it is finally brought under control.
As the pages turn, the reader gets a sense of déjà vu. Wow, this is so familiar -these things are happening now!
A glance at the bottom of the cover is revealing.
It says: “It’s a matter of when, not if.”
And the title is all-revealing: the novel is titled: Pandemic