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Pandemic

Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Scientists agree that a pathogen is likely to cause a global pandemic in the near future. But which one? And how?

Over the past fifty years, more than three hundred infectious diseases have either newly emerged or reemerged, appearing in territories where they’ve never been seen before. Ninety percent of epidemiologists expect that one of them will cause a deadly pandemic sometime in the next two generations. It could be Ebola, avian flu, a drug-resistant superbug, or something completely new. While we can’t know which pathogen will cause the next pandemic, by unraveling the story of how pathogens have caused pandemics in the past, we can make predictions about the future. In Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond, the prizewinning journalist Sonia Shah—whose book on malaria, The Fever, was called a “tour-de-force history” (The New York Times) and “revelatory” (The New Republic)—interweaves history, original reportage, and personal narrative to explore the origins of contagions, drawing parallels between cholera, one of history’s most deadly and disruptive pandemic-causing pathogens, and the new diseases that stalk humankind today.

To reveal how a new pandemic might develop, Sonia Shah tracks each stage of cholera’s dramatic journey, from its emergence in the South Asian hinterlands as a harmless microbe to its rapid dispersal across the nineteenth-century world, all the way to its latest beachhead in Haiti. Along the way she reports on the pathogens now following in cholera’s footsteps, from the MRSA bacterium that besieges her own family to the never-before-seen killers coming out of China’s wet markets, the surgical wards of New Delhi, and the suburban backyards of the East Coast.

By delving into the convoluted science, strange politics, and checkered history of one of the world’s deadliest diseases, Pandemic reveals what the next global contagion might look like— and what we can do to prevent it.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 25, 2016 – In this absorbing, complex, and ominous look at the dangers posed by pathogens in our daily lives, science journalist Shah (The Fever) cautions that there are no easy solutions. Of particular note is the challenge of tracking those pathogens that remain uncontained and which could overtake humans in a pandemic. As an example, Shah tracks the waterborne Vibrio cholerae bacterium from its home in the southwest Indian Ocean as it radiated from China and India to Paris in 1832, and then sailed to the U.S. with emigrants from cholera-plagued Europe heading to the eastern coast of North America at the time there were 5,800 reported cases and nearly 3,000 deaths in New York City alone. Shah then meticulously dissects the conditions that made cholera's transmission so effective and new outbreaks inevitable, including filthy water, overcrowding, political corruption and inaction, scapegoating, and even the expedited expansion of the human population by the harnessing of fossil fuels. "For most of our history, we've been unaware of pathogens' role in our lives," Shah writes, adding that most of the challenges still lay ahead. Shah's warning is certainly troubling, and this important medical and social history is worthy of attention and action.
Pandemic
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Feb 16, 2016
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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