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The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance Reprint Edition
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Where's your next disease coming from? From anywhere in the world--from overflowing sewage in Cairo, from a war zone in Rwanda, from an energy-efficient office building in California, from a pig farm in China or North Carolina. "Preparedness demands understanding," writes Pulitzer-winning journalist Laurie Garrett, and in this precursor to Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health, she shows a clear understanding of the patterns lying beneath the new diseases in the headlines (AIDS, Lyme) and the old ones resurgent (tuberculosis, cholera). As the human population explodes, ecologies collapse and simplify, and disease organisms move into the gaps. As globalization continues, diseases can move from one country to another as fast as an airplane can fly.
While the human race battles itself ... the advantage moves to the microbes' court. They are our predators and they will be victorious if we, Homo sapiens, do not learn how to live in a rational global village that affords the microbes few opportunities.
Her picture is not entirely bleak. Epidemics grow when a disease outbreak is amplified--by contaminated water supplies, by shared needles, by recirculated air, by prostitution. And controlling the amplifiers of disease is within our power; it's a matter of money, people, and will. --Mary Ellen Curtin
From Publishers Weekly
Garrett probes the human impact on the environment and the resulting emergence of new and mutating deadly viruses.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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These kinds of stories are in Garrett's book. But there are also others which will make you slap your head in astonishment. Like the CDC scientist who goes to County Cork to see if the retired nuns might have traces of a virus from the Ivory Coast when they were missionaries in the 1940's. And then CATCHES that virus after kissing the Blarney Stone right after one of the nuns.
The book is astonishing, wonderful, thought provoking. And now that it's on Kindle I can finish it, no longer burdened by its heft. Really looking forward to it.
This has caused me to rethink viruses,bacteria, and what it means to have a brain. Great read!
However, for a scientist, I feel like this book lacks many of the details regarding the cellular mechanisms of the infectious agents (viruses, bacteria, prions, etc.). However, it is a great way to start and eventually search for primary literature regarding each of the presented "probable" epidemics.
All in all, this is a good read for anyone who wants to learn more about the role of epidemiologists or how 'terrible' viruses attack (entire or groups of) populations.
I do wish that there was a more in-depth version that would elaborate on the actual mechanisms that affect the human body. For instance, the mechanisms of viral hemorrhagic fevers and how they lead to such degeneration of the capillaries that they begin to 'leak.'
This book is not meant to scare you, as the title may imply, but rather to inform you of the probable plagues that we face today.