Customer Review

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Science Book That Reads Like A Novel, March 25, 2010
This review is from: Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA (Hardcover)
Based on my background in biological science, I was very, very excited to get this book, and I was not disappointed.

Maryn McKenna's new book SUPERBUG, deals with the development of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which is also known as a superbug, it is multiple-drug resistant and impressively deadly. It takes massive amounts of drugs with often serious side-effects to even have a chance of beating it.

Historically, MRSA was a disease of hospitals, and only in people that were already suffering from a weakened immune system - but that is no longer the case. A new strain has come up that affects people who have not had any contact with hospitals. It is known as community-acquired MRSA, and is surprisingly lethal.

McKenna's style is aptly suited to this type of book, as there is a lot of medical jargon that requires a deft hand to explain to people with little to no knowledge in that particular area. This is accomplished through what I can only describe as a massive amount of interviews and research with individuals whose lives have been affected by MRSA.

This book raises a lot of issues regarding the sanitary procedures performed at hospitals, the over-prescription of antibiotics in both people and animals, and the sheer speed in which MRSA can adapt.

Reading this book may seem like some sort of scare tactic, and it is. But it is the sort of thing people NEED to hear. McKenna uses people whose lives have been affected by MRSA to tell the story, and only breaks away from the narrative for context.

Simply put, it is a superbly written science book that reads like a novel.

There are parts of this book which may be difficult to read if you are squeamish, specifically where she describes the various symptoms that people infected with MRSA had to deal with. And, not all the people you meet throughout the book survive, as MRSA is an indiscriminate killer.

SUPERBUG is a very impressive book that has some very important lessons to teach us about microbial evolution, and the huge effect it can have on the human population.
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