Can you summarize Chapter 31 of Contagion by Robin Cook?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 31, the answers to who or what, how and why the infectious disease contagions are occurring at Manhattan General are gaining momentum as more pieces of information come to Jack's knowledge.

  • Jack has a horrible dream while hiding out in a cheap, hot hotel about having virulent infectious disease symptoms.
  • At his medical examiner's office, he finds that in just over 24 hours after exposure, Gloria Hernandez from central supply, the two nurses Kim Spenser and George Haselton, and the lab technician William Pearson are having autopsies performed on them having died in the night.
  • Their lungs all show the same pathology as Kevin Carpenter's lungs so all had primary influenza pneumonia.
  • With phone messages from Abelard and Zimmerman from Manhattan General waiting, Jack returns the calls from Nicole with CDC.
  • Nicole says the viruses are virulent and probably remnants of the 1918-1918 killer influenza pandemic (world-wide epidemic). CDC has called the Surgeon General of the U.S. and New York health officials. All are on alert and a CDC team is headed to New York.
  • Terese is her usual broadminded self scolding Jack for not calling her as he "promised" to do; reprimanding him for trying to avert an epidemic; detaining him by telling him her "good news" of assurance of the president position with the advertising firm and insisting he take time out from averting a health disaster to have lunch with her (we are not fond of Terese and hope Jack isn't either).
  • Laurie warns Jack that Detective Soldano has said he cannot keep up a 24-hour protective watch on Jack.
  • Tom Lynch in the DNA lab confirms the phage-tag showing that tularemia and plague cultures came from National Biologicals.
  • Jack learns from Igor at Biologicals that both Manhattan General--delivered to Martin--and National Health hospitals have recently ordered tularemia, while plague was order by Frazer Labs.
  • Jack goes to track down Frazer Labs and finds it is a rented mailbox in a seedy mail shop in an nearly abandoned section of town.
  • He develops a clandestine plan to find out who is behind Frazer Labs. Disguising himself as a Fed Ex delivery man, he delivers an urgent, faked Fed Ex package to the mail box shop and waits to see who will claim it.
  • Twin has clandestine activity of his own when he and BJ go to a "meeting of the brother" in a busy park where they meet the imposing Warren. Both gangs exchange apologies for the gang deaths and call a truce to violence that includes "Doc."

On top of all this, Jack is beginning to display symptoms of the influenza he exposed himself to when visiting Gloria to try to find the connection between the contagions and central hospital supply. He is taking his rimantadine, though he is forgetting that now that symptoms have shown up, he may be infectious: he may be spreading the virus.

After Jack paid for his [clothing] purchases, the clerk was happy to wrap up Jack's street clothes. Just before the package was sealed, Jack thought to rescue his rimantadine. With the symptoms he was feeling he didn't want to miss a dose.