I’ ve read some very good books lately. One of them was the “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic” by David Quammen, one of the best science writers today and one of my favourite writers.
David Quammen has written this fascinated book about zoonoses, the animal infections transmissible to humans, and has made epidemiology look like a super-exciting field. I almost regretted for not taking biology more seriously during my University years.
His vivid style and his ability to explain complex subjects clearly makes the book gripping and lively and the material accessible to everyone. Quammen examines the most important viruses HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Ebola, Hendra, Nippah (I admit, I have never heard of Hendra and Nippah before), SARS and Marburg, including the story of their outbreaks, the importance of their reservoir hosts and the environmental factors that altered the host’s ecology and facilitated the movement of viruses beyond their natural ecological niches. The chapter on HIV/AIDS is quite fascinated, it reads like a detective story.
Another interesting part of the book is the description of the places that Quammen visited while researching for the book. It makes the story more dynamic and animated, especially if you – like me – love to travel and learn about different cultures. It is also explains why isolating countries won’t keep viruses away. Travel advices or restrictions will not stop people to be curious and adventurous or simply to want to trade with each other.