Outbreak: Disease Detectives at Work (Discovery!)


Friedlander, M. (2009). Outbreak: Disease detectives at work (3rd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books.




This book illustrates stories related to outbreaks of disease and the efforts of people who tried to understand and contain the diseases.  There is a sense of mystery and a sense of urgency throughout the book. The book starts with an introduction describing an actual case in 1940 in New York City, in which homeless men with blue-tinged skin began appearing on the streets.  Also, the author explains important concepts and terminology, presenting historical overview of epidemiology, and contemporary outbreaks, such as Ebola and Legionnaire’ disease throughout the book.  This book contains information that is relevant to BIO4 for human systems, as well as virus and bacteria topics.


The readability level based on Flesch-Kincaid formula is 12.0.  This book is intended for students with reading skills at 12th grade or above.

This book is nicely designed and illustrated.  It contains colored photomicrographs of bacteria, viruses, and cells.  The book is nicely designed and illustrated. Especially noteworthy are the richly colored images of bacteria, viruses, and cells.  The ideas are expressed clearly and directly and word choice is appropriate for intended readers.  Overall, the vocabulary is appropriate, but some words are very scientific.  The conceptual level is generally appropriate and the new concepts are developed through examples and illustrations.

Use in Class

This book is intended for students with high comprehension and reading skills at or above 12th grade.  Therefore, the group of students at this level will be reading the book independently.  Before this selected group of students read the book, the students can generate questions.  Also, students can work on a KWL activity.

Unit Focus


Submitted by Yookyung Chung

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