Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (MP3 CD)
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
"Science writing as detective story at its best." --Jennifer Ouellette, Scientific American
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Scientific American Best Book of the Year, and a Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Ebola, SARS, Hendra, AIDS, and countless other deadly viruses all have one thing in common: the bugs that transmit these diseases all originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. In this gripping account, David Quammen takes the listener along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge and asks the terrifying question: what might the next big one be?
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