A leading epidemiologist shares his "powerful and necessary" (Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone) stories from the front lines of our war on infectious diseases and explains how to prepare for global epidemics -- featuring a new preface on COVID-19.
Unlike natural disasters, whose destruction is concentrated in a limited area over a period of days, and illnesses, which have devastating effects but are limited to individuals and their families, infectious disease has the terrifying power to disrupt everyday life on a global scale, overwhelming public and private resources and bringing trade and transportation to a grinding halt.
In today's world, it's easier than ever to move people, animals, and materials around the planet, but the same advances that make modern infrastructure so efficient have made epidemics and even pandemics nearly inevitable. And as outbreaks of COVID-19, Ebola, MERS, and Zika have demonstrated, we are woefully underprepared to deal with the fallout. So what can -- and must -- we do in order to protect ourselves from mankind's deadliest enemy?
Drawing on the latest medical science, case studies, policy research, and hard-earned epidemiological lessons, Deadliest Enemy explores the resources and programs we need to develop if we are to keep ourselves safe from infectious disease. The authors show how we could wake up to a reality in which many antibiotics no longer cure, bioterror is a certainty, and the threat of a disastrous influenza or coronavirus pandemic looms ever larger. Only by understanding the challenges we face can we prevent the unthinkable from becoming the inevitable.
Deadliest Enemy is high scientific drama, a chronicle of medical mystery and discovery, a reality check, and a practical plan of action.
Infectious disease remains humankind's deadliest enemy and the future looks bleak, according to epidemiologist Osterholm and documentarian Olshaker. They lead with a dismal introduction on the threat of epidemics before delivering an absorbing account of how epidemiologists work and a disturbing description of what humans are doing to keep them in business. In the book's early chapters, the authors relate how epidemiologists have dealt with previous epidemics (AIDS, Ebola, SARS) and achieved a few triumphs (against smallpox and toxic shock), but they largely look ahead. Expanding populations are wiping out jungles and eating its wildlife, encountering new microorganisms and animal-borne diseases in addition to the old ones. Global warming is a bonanza for mosquito-borne infections such as malaria, dengue, and yellow fever. Influenza from birds and domestic animals produced the 20th century's worst epidemic, and humans are more vulnerable to it today. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are poised to spur a looming disaster, with superbugs heralding a "postantibiotic" era within decades. This is a convincing call to arms, among the best of a stream of similar warnings published recently. Urging political leaders to pay greater attention, the authors agree with prior warnings that matters will get worse without vastly more planning, research, and money.
Important read for those seeking understanding. Solid information and great framework for prevention and what is at stake.
Extremely self serving; overly wordy