Title: Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond
By: Shah, Sonia
Call #: 614.4 Shah.S
What is going to kill us next? That horrifying but intriguing question is what science journalist Sonia Shah asks here in her lucid exploration of how vulnerable our world is to some nasty pathogen lurking somewhere–in a busy city hospital, in a third world village near a remote forest, on a poultry farm in rural China, or an antiobiotic-rich feedlot here in the U.S.A. She uses the example of cholera–by far not a new killer–as a model of how a disease becomes a pandemic due to global changes, mistaken theories of transmission, corruption, and the unwillingness to fix a known problem. Shah explains how the diseases we’re confronting now, “cholera’s children” (dengue fever, ebola, HIV, and such), follow many of the same patterns and outcomes. With a terrifying description of her own family’s personal experience battling (for years!) the MRSA microbe, the vicious multi-drug resistant infection that’s cropping up more and more in first world communities, she makes it clear that we are on the brink of losing control. I love books like this! It’s good science writing for the lay person that does not bombard the reader with lingo or too many statistics, and has a real narrative style as well as an important message to all of us.