When Germs Travel: Six Major Epidemics That Have Invaded America and the Fears They Have Unleashed

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9780375726026: When Germs Travel: Six Major Epidemics That Have Invaded America and the Fears They Have Unleashed

The struggle against deadly microbes is endless. Diseases that have plagued human beings since ancient times still exist, new maladies like SARS make their way into the headlines, we are faced with vaccine shortages, and the threat of germ warfare has reemerged as a worldwide threat.

In this riveting account, medical historian Howard Markel takes an eye-opening look at the fragility of the American public health system. He tells the distinctive stories of six epidemics–tuberculosis, bubonic plague, trachoma, typhus, cholera, and AIDS–to show how how our chief defense against diseases from other countries has been to attempt to deny entry to carriers. He explains why this approach never worked, and makes clear that it is useless in today’s world of bustling international travel and porous borders.

Illuminating our foolhardy attempts at isolation and showing that globalization renders us all potential inhabitants of the so-called Hot Zone, Markel makes a compelling case for a globally funded public health program that could stop the spread of epidemics and safeguard the health of everyone on the planet.

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Review:

Among the United States' proudest 20th-century scientific achievements was the identification and control of many dangerous infectious diseases. But as medical historian Howard Markel reveals in When Germs Travel, quarantines and other disease-control programs often hid racism, nationalism, and class warfare beneath a veneer of public health. This book focuses on six epidemics to demonstrate how social structures and science can clash--tuberculosis, bubonic plague, trachoma, typhus, cholera, and AIDS. What these diseases have in common is that they were perceived to have been brought to the United States by "outsiders," who found themselves unwelcome even in a nation of immigrants.

In the diaries and memoirs of immigrants arriving during the early twentieth century, one repeatedly encounters evidence of the intense fear of the physicians at Ellis Island, the medical inspection process, and the potential for deportation.

In proving that radical responses such as quarantines are ineffective and not based on good science, Markel applies a personal perspective gained through his family's experiences as Eastern European immigrants as well as his own interactions with 21st century immigrant patients. The six epidemiological histories here are gripping, and Markel's style is reminiscent of Sherwin Nuland or Gina Kolata. Humanity is locked in an eternal war with microbes, Markel writes, and despite all efforts, "contagion cannot be confined to national borders." --Therese Littleton

About the Author:

Howard Markel is the George E. Wantz Professor of the History of Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan, where he directs the Center for the History of Medicine. He is the author of the award-winning Quarantine! and numerous articles for scholarly publication, as well as for The New York Times, Harper's, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and National Public Radio.

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Book Description Vintage. 1 Paperback(s), 2004. soft. Book Condition: New. In this riveting account, medical historian Howard Markel explores the fragility of the American public health system in the context of epidemiology. He chronicles the histories of six epidemics—tuberculosis, bubonic plague, trachoma, typhus, cholera, and AIDS—and how our chief defense against diseases from other countries has been to attempt to deny entry to carriers. This approach never worked, he argues, and makes clear how useless it is in today's world of bustling international travel and porous borders. We are all potential inhabitants of the so-called Hot Zone, Markel proves, and he makes a compelling case for a globally funded public health program."Markel, a professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan and a practicing physician, argues that quarantines in the U.S. and other restrictive measures (such as mandatory kerosene baths at the Texas-Mexico border in 1917 to kill typhus-carrying lice) are based more on xenophobia than science. As increased travel continues to shrink distances and bring people together, germs will also travel more easily; the prevalence of infectious disease, therefore, is no longer a merely local issue. As Markel warns in this informative and important book, we must work to prevent and treat infectious diseases throughout the entire world because 'in public health terms, every city is a "sister city" with every other metropolis on earth'."—Publishers Weekly 263. Bookseller Inventory # 70373

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, India, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The struggle against deadly microbes is endless. Diseases that have plagued human beings since ancient times still exist, new maladies like SARS make their way into the headlines, we are faced with vaccine shortages, and the threat of germ warfare has reemerged as a worldwide threat.In this riveting account, medical historian Howard Markel takes an eye-opening look at the fragility of the American public health system. He tells the distinctive stories of six epidemics-tuberculosis, bubonic plague, trachoma, typhus, cholera, and AIDS-to show how how our chief defense against diseases from other countries has been to attempt to deny entry to carriers. He explains why this approach never worked, and makes clear that it is useless in today s world of bustling international travel and porous borders. Illuminating our foolhardy attempts at isolation and showing that globalization renders us all potential inhabitants of the so-called Hot Zone, Markel makes a compelling case for a globally funded public health program that could stop the spread of epidemics and safeguard the health of everyone on the planet. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780375726026

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, India, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The struggle against deadly microbes is endless. Diseases that have plagued human beings since ancient times still exist, new maladies like SARS make their way into the headlines, we are faced with vaccine shortages, and the threat of germ warfare has reemerged as a worldwide threat.In this riveting account, medical historian Howard Markel takes an eye-opening look at the fragility of the American public health system. He tells the distinctive stories of six epidemics-tuberculosis, bubonic plague, trachoma, typhus, cholera, and AIDS-to show how how our chief defense against diseases from other countries has been to attempt to deny entry to carriers. He explains why this approach never worked, and makes clear that it is useless in today s world of bustling international travel and porous borders. Illuminating our foolhardy attempts at isolation and showing that globalization renders us all potential inhabitants of the so-called Hot Zone, Markel makes a compelling case for a globally funded public health program that could stop the spread of epidemics and safeguard the health of everyone on the planet. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780375726026

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, India, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The struggle against deadly microbes is endless. Diseases that have plagued human beings since ancient times still exist, new maladies like SARS make their way into the headlines, we are faced with vaccine shortages, and the threat of germ warfare has reemerged as a worldwide threat.In this riveting account, medical historian Howard Markel takes an eye-opening look at the fragility of the American public health system. He tells the distinctive stories of six epidemics-tuberculosis, bubonic plague, trachoma, typhus, cholera, and AIDS-to show how how our chief defense against diseases from other countries has been to attempt to deny entry to carriers. He explains why this approach never worked, and makes clear that it is useless in today s world of bustling international travel and porous borders. Illuminating our foolhardy attempts at isolation and showing that globalization renders us all potential inhabitants of the so-called Hot Zone, Markel makes a compelling case for a globally funded public health program that could stop the spread of epidemics and safeguard the health of everyone on the planet. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780375726026

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