Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
The next big human pandemic--the next disease cataclysm, perhaps on the scale of AIDS or the 1918 influenza--is likely to be caused by a new virus coming to humans from wildlife. Experts call such an event "spillover" and they warn us to brace ourselves. David Quammen has tracked this subject from the jungles of Central Africa, the rooftops of Bangladesh, and the caves of southern China to the laboratories where researchers work in space suits to study lethal viruses. He illuminates the dynamics of Ebola, SARS, bird flu, Lyme disease, and other emerging threats and tells the story of AIDS and its origins as it has never before been told. Spillover reads like a mystery tale, full of mayhem and clues and questions. When the Next Big One arrives, what will it look like? From which innocent host animal will it emerge? Will we be ready?
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An adventure-filled page-turner...told from the front lines of pandemic prevention.--Lizzie Wade
David Quammen might be my favorite living science writer: amiable, erudite, understated, incredibly funny, profoundly humane.--Kathryn Schulz
Quammen balances the technical terms with gorily gripping description and scenes from his own fearless journeys...But his real gift is his writing, with its nice balance of reverence and whimsy.--Chloë Schama
Quammen's more teacher than Jeremiah. So he calms when he can; but he's blunt when he must be.--Jeffrey Burke
The scariest book you'll read this year.
[An] ambitious and encyclopedic voyage...Mr. Quammen does a beautiful job of showing how so much of scientific knowledge is provisional, with great unknowns about infectious diseases.--Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone
This is a frightening and fascinating masterpiece of science reporting that reads like a detective story. David Quammen takes us on a quest to understand AIDS, Ebola, and other diseases that share a frightening commonality: they all jumped from wild animals to humans. By explaining this growing trend, Quammen not only provides a warning about the diseases we will face in the future, he also causes us to reflect on our place as humans in the earth's ecosystem.--Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo Da Vinci