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Earth Sciences & Geography | Seven Modern Plagues - and How We Are Causing Them

Seven Modern Plagues

and How We Are Causing Them

Walters, Mark Jerome

2014, XXIV, 240 p.


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  • Timeliness of topic as new strains of flu develop and incidents of Lyme disease and West Nile Virus increase
  • Successful track record with the first edition of the book, Six Modern Plagues
  • Combination of good storytelling with cutting-edge science

Every time we sneeze, there seems to be a new form of flu: bird flu, swine flu, Spanish flu, Hong Kong flu, H5N1, and most recently, H5N7. While these diseases appear to emerge from thin air, in fact, human activity is driving them. And the problem is not just flu, but a series of rapidly evolving and dangerous modern plagues.

According to veterinarian and journalist Mark Walters, we are contributing to—if not overtly causing—some of the scariest epidemics of our time. Through human stories and cutting-edge science, Walters explores the origins of seven diseases: Mad Cow Disease, HIV/AIDS, Salmonella DT104, Lyme Disease, Hantavirus, West Nile, and new strains of flu. He shows that they originate from manipulation of the environment, from emitting carbon and clear-cutting forests to feeding naturally herbivorous cows “recycled animal protein.”

Readers will both learn how today’s plagues first developed and discover patterns that could help prevent the diseases of tomorrow.

Content Level » Lower undergraduate

Keywords » Disease - Environment manipulation - HIV/AIDS - Influenza - Mad Cow Disease

Related subjects » Biomedical Sciences - Earth Sciences & Geography - Public Health

Table of contents 



1. The Dark Side of Progress: Mad Cow Disease

2. A Chimp Called Amandine: HIV/AIDS

3. The Travels of Antibiotic Resistance: Salmonella DT104 53

4. Of Old Growth and Arthritis: Lyme Disease

5. A Spring to Die For: Hantavirus

6. A Virus from the Nile

7. Birds, Pigs, and People: The Rise of Pandemic Flus

Epilogue: MERS-CoV and Beyond




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