Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


David Quammen's third "big idea" book sticks to the ecological focus that informed his previous classics, Song of the Dodo and Monster of God. In this instance he's surveying the ecology and evolution of diseases we humans acquire from other animals. Whether he's tromping through the Congo after a chimp-darting Ebola researcher, or trying to keep up with the math as molecular phylogeneticists place the date of the original SIV/HIV spillover to humans circa 1908(!), Quammen is a consitently entertaining and informative writer who is able to bring the research to life and make it understandable to non-scientists. And, even though part of what he's writing about is the next big pandemic, he's never a sensationalist. Throughout this facinating book he reminds us that we humans -- the ulimate outbreak at 7 billion and counting -- are going to be exposed to novel microbes that will challenge our immune systems as we encroach on the remaining wilds.

— Chris

David Quammen's third "big idea" book sticks to the ecological focus that informed his previous classics, Song of the Dodo and Monster of God.  In this instance he's surveying the ecology and evolution of diseases we humans acquire from other animals. Whether he's tromping through the Congo after a chimp-darting Ebola researcher, or trying to keep up with the math as molecular phylogeneticists place the date of the original SIV/HIV spillover to humans circa 1908(!), Quammen is a consitently entertaining and informative writer who is able to bring the research to life and make it understandable to non-scientists. And, even though part of what he's writing about is the next big pandemic, he's never a sensationalist.  Throughout this facinating book he reminds us that we humans -- the ulimate outbreak at 7 billion and counting -- are going to be exposed to novel microbes that will challenge our immune systems as we encroach on the remaining wilds. — From Chris Wilcox

Description


The next big human pandemic--the next disease cataclysm, perhaps on the scale of AIDS or the 1918 influenza--is likely to be caused by a new virus coming to humans from wildlife. Experts call such an event "spillover" and they warn us to brace ourselves. David Quammen has tracked this subject from the jungles of Central Africa, the rooftops of Bangladesh, and the caves of southern China to the laboratories where researchers work in space suits to study lethal viruses. He illuminates the dynamics of Ebola, SARS, bird flu, Lyme disease, and other emerging threats and tells the story of AIDS and its origins as it has never before been told. Spillover reads like a mystery tale, full of mayhem and clues and questions. When the Next Big One arrives, what will it look like? From which innocent host animal will it emerge? Will we be ready?



Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393346619
ISBN-10: 0393346617
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 9th, 2013
Pages: 587
Language: English

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