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The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

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Unpurified drinking water. Improper use of antibiotics. Local warfare. Massive refugee migration. Changing social and environmental conditions around the world have fostered the spread of new and potentially devastating viruses and diseases--HIV, Lassa, Ebola, and others. Laurie Garrett takes you on a fifty-year journey through the world's battles with microbes and examines the worldwide conditions that have culminated in recurrent outbreaks of newly discovered diseases, epidemics of diseases migrating to new ...
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The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

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Overview

Unpurified drinking water. Improper use of antibiotics. Local warfare. Massive refugee migration. Changing social and environmental conditions around the world have fostered the spread of new and potentially devastating viruses and diseases--HIV, Lassa, Ebola, and others. Laurie Garrett takes you on a fifty-year journey through the world's battles with microbes and examines the worldwide conditions that have culminated in recurrent outbreaks of newly discovered diseases, epidemics of diseases migrating to new areas, and mutated old diseases that are no longer curable. She argues that it is not too late to take action to prevent the further onslaught of viruses and microbes, and offers possible solutions for a healthier future.

In this gripping, often harrowing study, Laurie Garrett takes readers on a 50-year journey through the world's battles with microbes, and examines the conditions that have culminated in recurrent outbreaks of newly discovered diseases, epidemics of diseases migrating to new areas, and mutated old diseases that are no longer curable. A New York Times Notable Book in 1994.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Documenting the plausible threat of major new worldwide epidemics, as well as eruptions of recently discovered diseases, Garrett's gripping and frightening report sounds a wake-up call to the planet. Wars, sexual promiscuity, inept public-health efforts and development schemes that disrupt ecosystems are some of the factors she says contribute to the alarmingly rapid mutation of viruses, the pandemics sweeping through the animal world, and the spread of human diseases to new areas. Health and science writer for New York Newsday, Garrett discusses the tremendous increase in AIDS and HIV infection across Asia, outbreaks of the incredibly lethal Ebola virus in Africa, and the spread of diseases via human technologies (such as tampons contributing to toxic shock syndrome). Her first-rate investigation concludes with a call for a global early warning system to rapidly detect new diseases and drug-resistant strains. BOMC, QPB and Natural Science Book Club selections.
Library Journal
Medical journalist Garrett presents a history of epidemiology in a format that is educational, moving, and terrifying. She skillfully illustrates the role of ecology, politics, and economics in worldwide healthcare and uses numerous examples to emphasize the need for a global perspective in the management of disease. Yellow fever, malaria, ebola, lassa fever, AIDS, legionnaires' disease, toxic shock syndrome-she discusses in depth the search for the causes of these and many other diseases. The tranquil days following the discovery of antibiotics are gone as drug-resistant strains of disease-causing organisms continue to reappear. The message is clear: we must drop our complacency and learn from past epidemics or face the consequences. An extremely readable style and exhaustive notes make this fascinating reading for general readers and scholars alike. Highly recommended. [See also Richard Preston's The Hot Zone, LJ 8/94.-Ed]-Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
Booknews
Based on international field research and extensive interviews with experts in virology, molecular biology, disease ecology and medicine, Garrett (health and science writer and former science correspondent for National Public Radio) investigates newly identified viruses such as HIV, HIV-II and the mysterious Ebola; old viruses in new locations, such as hantavirus and dengue; and mutant strains of old diseases--and examines the relationship between the spread of disease, sociology, politics and science. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
William Beatty
This might have been a sensation-seeking book that stirs things up briefly, then quickly disappears, but Garrett has studied the scientific and popular literature, interviewed many knowledgeable individuals, and constructed a cogent, well-documented, far-reaching argument. The main points of that argument include the fact that careless use of antibiotics has led to the growth of drug-resistant strains and species of microbes, the fact that microbial mutations are not necessarily random events, and the facts of the influences of urbanization and increasing military expenditures on public health. Further, she cites the roles of global warming, pollution of oceans, and shortsighted politicians in helping spread disease. She makes all her points about those phenomena through compelling, detailed epidemiological examples. The major injunction arising from her argument is that, because humanity is sitting on a powder keg of disease, every country must provide adequate funds or cooperative support for the fieldwork and research aspects of public health and preventive medicine. If they do not, "Homo sapiens" will become an endangered species.
From Barnes & Noble
An alarming look at the last 50 years and our destiny in the face of humanity's nightmare--the eruption of newfound viruses, mysterious microbes, and a global epidemic of immunodeficiency.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374126469
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 10/1/1994
  • Pages: 750
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.67 (h) x 2.12 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 3
1 Machupo: Bolivian Hemorrhagic Fever 13
2 Health Transition: The Age of Optimism - Setting Out to Eradicate Disease 30
3 Monkey Kidneys and the Ebbing Tides: Marburg Virus, Yellow Fever, and the Brazilian Meningitis Epidemic 53
4 Into the Woods: Lassa Fever 71
5 Yambuku: Ebola 100
6 The American Bicentennial: Swine Flu and Legionnaires' Disease 153
7 N'zara: Lassa, Ebola, and the Developing World's Economic and Social Policies 192
8 Revolution: Genetic Engineering and the Discovery of Oncogenes 222
9 Microbe Magnets: Urban Centers of Disease 234
10 Distant Thunder: Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Injecting Drug Users 260
11 Hatari: Vinidogodogo (Danger: A Very Little Thing): The Origins of AIDS 281
12 Feminine Hygiene (As Debated, Mostly, by Men): Toxic Shock Syndrome 390
13 The Revenge of the Germs, or Just Keep Inventing New Drugs: Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Viruses, and Parasites 411
14 Thirdworldization: The Interactions of Poverty, Poor Housing, and Social Despair with Disease 457
15 All in Good Haste: Hantaviruses in America 528
16 Nature and Homo sapiens: Seal Plague, Cholera, Global Warming, Biodiversity, and the Microbial Soup 550
17 Searching for Solutions: Preparedness, Surveillance, and the New Understanding 592
Afterword 621
Notes 623
Acknowledgments 729
Index 731
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2004

    Really Scary

    The news comes out every year, people are expecting to be living longer. Williard Scott announces the birthdates of those who reach a hundred years old almost every day. If that is all you hear everyday, you may mistakenly believe that all of our serious health problems have either been cured or at least controlled. Smallpox is a distant memory, few are alive who remember the Influenza epidemic of 1917-1918, and most of us are young enough to have received at least 10 different vaccines for ancient worries, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, etc. All is calm, right? This book will jolt you out of your state of nirvana. Diseases are lurking, parasites are biding their time, viruses are mutating, bacterium are slowly winding their way through the jungle, new quasi-organisms(prions)are making themselves known in ever increasing terroristic fashion. We fear dictators, terrorists and their bombs, but in reality, our true fear should be of the unknown, unseen, and the unthought of consequences of modern life and it's many conveniences. Ventilation systems=Legionnaires disease. Beautiful and rare tropical wooden furniture=strange and exotic bacterial infections. Superabsorbent tampons=death. Supersonic air travel=fast moving influenza. We see that modernity brings it's own double edged sword to the conversation. This book should be mandatory reading for all citizens of the world. It should make us take pause and give homage to the maxim 'to every action their is an equal and opposite reaction.' We humans pay the price of creating, destroying and altering our known world. The unseen worlds maximize their opportunities to florish in the wake. The author, Laurie Garrett does a superb job of telling the story of each of the latest discovered menaces, tracing each to the earliest known siting, and following the trail of the hunters, World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as they do their best to combat these microscopic terrorists. She pulls no punches in this 622 page tome, and includes some additional 100 pages of notes and references. This book could be an excellent resource for any science student or medical professional.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    Even 14 years after it's publication...

    the message Ms. Garrett relayed about disease in our modern world is still relevent and compelling. The genius of the book is the way in which Ms. Garrett presents the subject, researched thoroughly but engagingly written to allow people without advanced degrees in biology understand the topic it is imminently readable.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2004

    Page turning!

    Ms. Garrett's book was my first induction into the world of microorganisms and their history. Even with the 600 + page book, I found it to be a frightening and exhilarating book to read. Even though it read like a horror story I derived knowledge from this amazing book and so I consider it one of my wisest choices.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2003

    Should be required reading

    I plan to use this book in my high school biology classes as a teaching tool. Not only does it give a chillingly accurate description of the infectious diseases facing us in the near future, but it also gives plenty of the history behind the research efforts on this disease. The non-scientific public tends to see science as almost destined knowledge; Ms. Garrett has done a wonderful job revealing the twists and turns that accompany any research effort and the many, many, many questions that still remain about so many diseases. A long book, but well worth it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2001

    Amazingly True

    Laurie Garret skillfully captures the history of the last 50 years of bacterial and viral research and encounters. The Comming Plauge is a true and factual account of the widespread problem with globalization. With the comming of faster ground transportation and global air travel, the world is no longer isolated from the threats that were once held in check simply by the distance that a person could travel while infected. This text should be a wake up call for all those who believe that these diseases will never reach our closely guarded shores.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Uyhhu

    Ffbhhg

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2003

    The Truth.....

    I bought this book in the train station in Frakfurt Germany in 1995 and i can honestly say it by far the best book of its kind, it scared me so much it gave me nightmares.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    Great read.

    Even though published almost 20 years ago, it is still a must read. Well researched and documented, this book explains how viruses and bacteria are winning the battle in the spread of new and old diseases.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Kainaia

    My room. Bed is two feet long. Red dresses are in the wardrobe.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    An amusing gift for that someone special.

    Not an encouraging book to buy your husband while he is in the hospital with pneumonia and 104+ temperature. Not that I'd do that or anything. ;)

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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