Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases

Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases

Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases

Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases


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From the masters of storytelling-meets-science and co-authors of QuackeryPatient Zero tells the long and fascinating history of disease outbreaks—how they start, how they spread, the science that lets us understand them, and how we race to destroy them before they destroy us.

Written in the authors’ lively and accessible style, chapters include page-turning medical stories about a particular disease or virus—smallpox, Bubonic plague, polio, HIV—that combine “Patient Zero” narratives, or the human stories behind outbreaks, with historical examinations of missteps, milestones, scientific theories, and more.

Learn the tragic stories of Patient Zeros throughout history, such as Mabalo Lokela, who contracted Ebola while on vacation in 1976, and the Lewis Baby on London’s Broad Street, the first to catch cholera in an 1854 outbreak that led to a major medical breakthrough. Interspersed are origin stories of a different sort—how a rye fungus in 1951 turned a small village in France into a phantasmagoric scene reminiscent of Burning Man. Plus the uneasy history of human autopsy, how the HIV virus has been with us for at least a century, and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781523513291
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Publication date: 11/16/2021
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 264,291
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Lydia Kang, MD, is a practicing internal medicine physician and author of young adult fiction and adult fiction. Her YA novels include Control, Catalyst, and the upcoming The November Girl. Her adult fiction debut is entitled A Beautiful Poison. Her nonfiction has been published in JAMA, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

This author is represented by the Hachette Speakers Bureau.

Nate Pedersen is a librarian, historian, and freelance journalist with over 400 publications in print and online, including in the Guardian, the Believer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Art of Manliness.

Table of Contents

PATIENT ZERO: A Curious History of the World’s Most Deadly Diseases
Table of Contents
Patient Zero: Ergotism
Zoonoses: Making the Leap
Patient Zero: Ebola
Germ Theory: From Miasma to Microscopes
Patient Zero: Plague
Autopsy: From Humoral Theory to Grave Robbing
            Patient Zero: Hep C
Anatomy of an Outbreak
Patient Zero: Covid-19
Quackery Cures
Patient Zero: Yellow Fever
Patient Zero: Mad Cow Disease
Patient Zero: HIV
Patient Zero: Typhus
Patient Zero: Typhoid Mary
Indigenous Peoples & the Columbian Exchange: The “Exchange” Was Not Equal
Patient Zero: Syphilis
Crypto Outbreak
Patient Zero: Measles
            Patient Zero: 1918 Influenza
Vaccines: From Variolation to Messenger RNA
            Patient Zero: Polio
Cancer-Disease Link
Patient Zero: Cholera
Anthrax & Biological Warfare: The Weaponization of Disease
Patient Zero: Rabies
Patient Zero: Last Smallpox case
Medical Advancements
About the Authors
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