Can you briefly summarize chapter 16 of Contagion by Robin Cooke?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Despite the length of Chapter 16 of Contagion and its wealth of detail, there are only a few new things added to the story. Jack goes in early to the Medical Examiner's Lab and finds that three new cases of death by infectious disease have come in from Manhattan General, accompanied by one unrelated (thus far) gunshot death.

Jack performs autopsies on Donald Lagenstorpe, who was suffering earlier from an asthma attack that wouldn't respond to treatment thus required hospitalization, and on Maria Lopez, who worked in Manhattan General's central hospital supply department as did the earlier victim Kathrine Meuller. Laurie performs an autopsy on another infectious disease victim, Joy Hester, and sees the presentation of tularemia.

It is noteworthy (and something to remember in case there is a later connection made) that Calvin and Bingham both appeared in the autopsy room in connection with the shooting victim being autopsied by Chet. The shooting was police related and of a suspicious nature.

After assembling the needed samples and specially requesting frozen organ sections, Jack solves the mystery of Lagenthorpe's previously unrecognizable symptoms as those indicating the infectious disease rickettsia. Agnes informs Jack that it is extremely dangerous in "aerosol form" (when loosed into the air), perhaps more dangerous than aerosol tularemia or plague.

Agnes called out to [Jack]: "I appreciate you letting me know about this as soon as you did," she said. "Rickettsias are extremely dangerous for us lab workers. In an aerosol form it is highly contagious. It's as bad or worse than tularemia."

At present, the infectious disease count is:

  1. Nodelman: plague
  2. Katherine Mueller (central hospital supply department): plague
  3. Susanne Hard (mother, died in childbirth, Connecticut house with rabbits): tularemia
  4. Maria Lopez (also central hospital supply): tularemia
  5. Donald Lagenthorpe (asthma victim): unconfirmed rickettsia
  6. Joy Hester: unconfirmed tularemia