Sunday, February 16, 2014

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen

In a nutshell

This book explores the trajectory of a wide range of "spillover" events, where a disease spills over from animals into the human population.  The number of diseases he explores is vast and includes AIDS, SARS, Parrot Fever, Lyme Disease, Herpes B, Ebola and many more.

Did I like it?

I found this book really interesting, though there were definitely some parts that I enjoyed more than others.  The opening chapter on the Hendra virus in Australia was fascinating and I enjoyed learning how the disease was transmitted from an equine to human population.  The chapters on Lyme Disease, SARS, Q Fever, Herpes B, and Parrot Fever were also very good.  I thought that the chapters on AIDS and the Ebola Virus were the weakest and I suspect this is because they were just a bit too long.  They needed to be tighter to hold my interest.

Will you like it?

People who enjoy books about the social history of medicine will be fascinated by Quammen's book.  It's a good fit for those who enjoyed The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.

What else happened while I was reading this book?

Summer arrived!!!!!  Does anything else matter?  Though we did see two great movies: Saving Mr. Banks and 12 Years a Slave.

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