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Six Modern Plagues: And How We Are Causing Themby Mark Jerome Walters
Synopses & Reviews
"In a clear, engaging style, Dr. Walters tells the tale of each disease like a detective story. He allows each mystery to unfold as it did in reality, often slowly, through the lives of the plants and animals involved, the first human victims, the government officials who tried to respond, and the scientists who ultimately explained what was happening." -NEW YORK TIMES
"...a fascinating work of ecological journalism, utterly convincing in its argument: that our health and the health of the environment are intimately linked, and we overlook that link at our peril." -MICHAEL POLLAN, AUTHOR OF SECOND NATURE AND THE BOTANY OF DESIRE
"Mark Jerome Walters weaves a fine thread of human disturbances through the quilt work of modern pandemics. After being drawn engagingly into the explosive symptoms of global environmental change, readers will come to understand that we have no choice but to make peace with nature." -PAUL R. EPSTEIN, M.D., M.P.H., CENTER FOR HEALTH AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
West Nile Virus — Mad Cow Disease — HIV/AIDS — Hantavirus — Lyme Disease ... and a new strain of Salmonella. Such modern epidemics have emerged over the past few decades as mysterious, yet significant risks to human health. These "plagues" are forcing us to modify our lifestyles in ways that minimize our chances of becoming a statistic in the latest tally of the afflicted.
In Six Modern Plagues, Mark Jerome Walters offers us the first book for the general reader that connects these emerging health risks and their ecological origins. Drawing on new research, interviews, and his own investigations, Mark Jerome Walters weaves together a compelling argument: that changes humans have made to the environment, from warming the climate to clearing the forests, have contributed to, if not caused a rising tide of diseases that are afflicting humans and many other species.
According to Mark Jerome Walters, humans are not always innocent bystanders to infectious disease. To the contrary, in the case of many modern epidemics, we are the instigators. Six Modern Plagues, a ground-breaking introduction to the connection between disease and environmental degradation should be read by all those interested in their health and the health of others.
In "Six Modern Plagues, Mark Jerome Walters elucidates the surprising connections between human-induced changes to the natural environment and recent epidemics, including West Nile virus, mad cow disease, HIV/AIDS, Lyme disease, and SARS. According to Walters, we are not only victims of these emerging diseases; we are helping exacerbate their creation and spread. Only if we learn to recognize our role in these outbreaks, or, "eco-demics," can we take measures to diffuse their power. For the new paperback edition, Walters has updated information on the recent bird flu epidemic.
About the Author
Mark Jerome Walters is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. He was recently a visiting lecturer at Harvard Medical School and an associate at Harvard's Center for Health and the Global Environment. His education includes degrees in veterinary medicine and journalism.
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