The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

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A critically acclaimed study documents the outbreaks of newly discovered diseases around the globe, such as HIV, Lassa, and Ebola, and explores the social and environmental deterioration that helps to keep such viruses alive. Reprint. Tour. NYT.

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Where's your next disease coming from? From anywhere in the world--from overflowing sewage in Cairo, from a war zone in Rwanda, from an energy-efficient office building in California, from a pig farm in China or North Carolina. "Preparedness demands understanding," writes Pulitzer-winning journalist Laurie Garrett, and in this precursor to Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health, she shows a clear understanding of the patterns lying beneath the new diseases in the headlines (AIDS, Lyme) and the old ones resurgent (tuberculosis, cholera). As the human population explodes, ecologies collapse and simplify, and disease organisms move into the gaps. As globalization continues, diseases can move from one country to another as fast as an airplane can fly.

While the human race battles itself ... the advantage moves to the microbes' court. They are our predators and they will be victorious if we, Homo sapiens, do not learn how to live in a rational global village that affords the microbes few opportunities.

Her picture is not entirely bleak. Epidemics grow when a disease outbreak is amplified--by contaminated water supplies, by shared needles, by recirculated air, by prostitution. And controlling the amplifiers of disease is within our power; it's a matter of money, people, and will. --Mary Ellen Curtin

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Laurie Garrett, science and health writer, winner of the Pulitzer, Polk, and Peabody Prizes, is the author of The Coming Plague and Betrayal of Trust.

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Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1994
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