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Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

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


"[Mr. Quammen] is not just among our best science writers but among our best writers, period." —Dwight Garner, New York Times

The next big human pandemic—the next disease cataclysm, perhaps on the scale of AIDS or the 1918 influenza—is likely to be caused by a new virus coming to humans from wildlife. Experts call such an event “spillover” and they warn us to brace ourselves. David Quammen has tracked this subject from the jungles of Central Africa, the rooftops of Bangladesh, and the caves of southern China to the laboratories where researchers work in space suits to study lethal viruses. He illuminates the dynamics of Ebola, SARS, bird flu, Lyme disease, and other emerging threats and tells the story of AIDS and its origins as it has never before been told. Spillover reads like a mystery tale, full of mayhem and clues and questions. When the Next Big One arrives, what will it look like? From which innocent host animal will it emerge? Will we be ready?

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 06, 2012 – Quammen (The Song of the Dodo) is a masterful writer who adroitly blends science and journalism, speculation and fact, as well as horror and humor in his latest tour de force. He traverses the globe exploring cases in which animal-borne diseases somehow jump to humans, often with devastating consequences. This cross-species transmission of disease the spillover of the book s title has happened for the 200,000 years modern humans have been present on the earth, but the frequency and consequences of such events have been increasing dramatically in recent years. According to Quammen, diseases of this sort are responsible for the death of more than 29 million people since 1981. And, as he explains so well, these diseases represent the unintended results of things we are doing. Environmental destruction, burgeoning human populations, increased mobility, and extremely different patterns of food production are all part of his story. Quammen is adept at describing the epidemiology, anthropology, and molecular biology of SARS, AIDS, Ebola, and a host of other frightening maladies. His profiles of researchers, both in the lab and in the field, are every bit as compelling as are his descriptions of those unlucky enough to catch one of these dreadful diseases. This is a frightening but critically important book for anyone interested in learning about the prospects of the world s next major pandemic.

Customer Reviews


I thought that this book was absolutely intriguing. It was very informative and scientific of course, but the author does an amazing job of turning this very factual and informative book into a story as well. It was very fun to read and I couldn't put it down. You won't go wrong reading this book, so if your thinking about buying it because the picture on the front is so awesome but your worried what's inside isn't, don't worry, you won't be let down. Just be aware that if your not into learning then you won't like this book. Zoonosis, the main topic of the book, is something all of Earth's citizens should be aware of, because like he mentions in this text, if your not to sure what zoonosis is now, don't worry, it won't be long before it's a household word, and how right he is! To win a war you must have knowledge, and make no mistake about it, the war on humans is very real, with the enemy being nature itself! If your worried that this book might be apocalyptic, don't be, it's not. The author just wants the reader, and the world for that matter, to be informed of the very real danger that biological specimens pose on the human-animal! Thanks Mr. Quammen for this amazing book. I'm thinking about doing graduate studies in virology because of this book!


Spillover is an outstanding overview of zoonotic diseases, their history, and the scientists and physicians who work to unravel their mysteries and treat infected individuals.

I have read several of the books referenced in Spillover, but the author does a great job filling in blanks and providing very current information.

Excellent book, excellent research, and one of the first lay volumes to clearly show how humans, virus, bacteria, plants, and animals all share Mother Earth: constantly evolving and searching for suitable ecological niches.

Dan Clements

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Life Sciences
  • Published: Oct 01, 2012
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Print Length: 592 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 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.

Customer Ratings