Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic David Quammen

We’re all going to die. And it’s probably bats or monkeys that will do us in.

As you may remember, I’m a huge fan for medical epidemic books and stories so I was very excited to come across this one, which is about diseases we get from animals, and the science of how a spillover works-- what makes something go from an animal to a human and then make large numbers of us very sick?

Quammen looks at several zoonosis (infections we get from animals) throughout history, and the history of how it made people sick, how they figured out what was going on, and what made it spillover and spread. And he looks at A LOT of diseases such as Hendra, Ebola, SARS, AIDS, Malaria, Lyme, and a host of others. Along the way, he also talks to many scientists about what they’re doing now to be ready for the next one-- what will it be, where will it hit, what can we do to be prepared.

One on hand it’s fascinating. On the other, it’s terrifying (even though he doesn’t want us to freak out too much. I mean, we will all die at some point. And probably not of the next BIG ONE. Which will probably be a flu. And probably from bats or monkeys. Man, I really like bats.)

It’s very interesting, but it does occasionally get bogged down (I found the AIDS stuff a little too academic and wasn’t a fan of his speculative fiction about how it spread in humans).

It was a weird one, because I LOVED it, but it took me FOREVER to finish. Not sure why.

If you liked Outbreak and The Hot Zone, you should probably read this one (if nothing else, just to find out that everything you thought you knew about Ebola is false.) Plus! It's an Outstanding Book for the College Bound.

Book Provided by... my local library

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