Seven Modern Plagues: and How We Are Causing Them

Overview


Epidemiologists are braced for the big one: the strain of flu that rivals the pandemic of 1918-1919, which killed at least 20 million people worldwide. In recent years, we have experienced scares with a host of new influenza viruses: bird flu, swine flu, Spanish flu, Hong Kong flu, H5N1, and most recently, H5N7. While these diseases appear to emerge from thin air, in fact, human activity is driving them. And the problem is not just flu, but a series of rapidly evolving and ...
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Seven Modern Plagues: and How We Are Causing Them

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Overview


Epidemiologists are braced for the big one: the strain of flu that rivals the pandemic of 1918-1919, which killed at least 20 million people worldwide. In recent years, we have experienced scares with a host of new influenza viruses: bird flu, swine flu, Spanish flu, Hong Kong flu, H5N1, and most recently, H5N7. While these diseases appear to emerge from thin air, in fact, human activity is driving them. And the problem is not just flu, but a series of rapidly evolving and dangerous modern plagues.
According to veterinarian and journalist Mark Walters, we are contributing to-if not overtly causing-some of the scariest epidemics of our time. Through human stories and cutting-edge science, Walters explores the origins of seven diseases: mad cow disease, HIV/AIDS, Salmonella DT104, Lyme disease, hantavirus, West Nile, and new strains of flu. He shows that they originate from manipulation of the environment, from emitting carbon and clear-cutting forests to feeding naturally herbivorous cows "recycled animal protein."
    
Since Walters first drew attention to these "ecodemics" in 2003 with the publication of Six Modern Plagues, much has been learned about how they developed. In this new, fully updated edition, the author presents research that precisely pinpoints the origins of HIV, confirms the link between forest fragmentation and increased risk of Lyme disease, and expands knowledge of the ecology of West Nile virus.
    
He also explores developments in emerging diseases, including a new chapter on flu, examining the first influenza pandemic since the Hong Kong flu of 1968; a new tick-borne infection in the Mid-West; a second novel bird flu in China; and yet a new SARS-like virus in the Middle East.
    
Readers will not only learn how these diseases emerged but the conditions that make future pandemics more likely. This knowledge is critical in order to prevent the next modern plague.
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Editorial Reviews

Nature

“Refreshingly, this latest book explores the underlying shifts in human ecology and behavior that have potentiated recent epidemics…Walters achieves a balance between environmental science, clinical medicine, human interest, and social comment.”
M.D., Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School - Paul Epstein

"Mark Jerome Walters weaves a fine thread of human disturbances through the quilt work of modern pandemics. After being drawn engagingly into the explosive symptoms of global environmental change, readers will come to understand that we have no choice but to make peace with nature."
author of Second Nature and The Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan

"A fascinating work of ecological journalism, utterly convincing in its argument: that our health and the health of the environment are intimately linked, and we overlook that link at our peril."
San Francisco Book Review

"[Walters's] writing is excellent, light and in easy-to-read style, and the case history in each chapter is fascinating to read."
Nature

"Refreshingly, this latest book explores the underlying shifts in human ecology and behavior that have potentiated recent epidemics…Walters achieves a balance between environmental science, clinical medicine, human interest, and social comment."
author of Second Nature and The Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan

“A fascinating work of ecological journalism, utterly convincing in its argument: that our health and the health of the environment are intimately linked, and we overlook that link at our peril.”
Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School - Paul Epstein

“Mark Jerome Walters weaves a fine thread of human disturbances through the quilt work of modern pandemics. After being drawn engagingly into the explosive symptoms of global environmental change, readers will come to understand that we have no choice but to make peace with nature.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610914659
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 2/19/2014
  • Edition description: 2
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 801,083
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Jerome Walters is a veterinarian, a journalist, and a professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He is the author of five books, including A Shadow and a Song and Seeking the Sacred Raven.

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Table of Contents


Preface
 
Introduction
Chapter 1. The Dark Side of Progress: Mad Cow Disease
Chapter 2. A Chimp Called Amandine: HIV/AIDS
Chapter 3. The Travels of Antibiotic Resistance: Salmonella DT104
Chapter 4. Of Old Growth and Arthritis: Lyme Disease
Chapter 5. A Spring to Die For: Hantavirus
Chapter 6. A Virus from the Nile
Chapter 7. Birds, Pigs, and People: The Rise of Pandemic Flus
Epilogue: MERS-CoV and Beyond
 
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index
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