Cover image for Epidemic! : the world of infectious disease
Epidemic! : the world of infectious disease
DeSalle, Rob.
Publication Information:
New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton, [1999]

Physical Description:
246 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Published in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History."
Added Author:
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RA651 .E596 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
RA651 .E596 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Leading experts explain infectious disease in an illustrated companion to the acclaimed American Museum of Natural History's exhibit. Epidemic ! explores the world of infectious disease with essays by Nobel Prize-winning experts, profiles of scientists and researchers, and case studies. Written for the general reader, Epidemic! offers a clear understanding of the threat of infectious diseases, from the flu and mad cow disease to HIV and tuberculosis. Leaders of organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control cover topics from controlling outbreaks and the emergence of new diseases to the problem of drug resistance. Individual case studies explore disease around the world, including the work of Doctors Without Borders, the cultural dimension of malaria, solving the riddle of cholera, and the race to find the AIDS virus. Published to coincide with the American Museum of Natural History's traveling exhibit called "the most impressive and informative exhibition the Museum has mounted in years" ( New York Times ), this book illustrates the important issues of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention throughout history and across cultures with more than eighty photographs and images. A resource section includes lists of organizations and Web sites, an annotated bibliography, and a glossary. Examining infectious disease from a natural history perspective, Epidemic! allows us to understand one of the most critical issues of the coming millennium.

Author Notes

Dr. Rob DeSalle is codirector of the molecular laboratories and associate curator at the American Museum of Natural History. He is also the author of The Science Behind Jurassic Park .

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This accompaniment to a traveling exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History inaugurates a new series from that institution. The series aims to enable the general public to share the excitement of cutting-edge science. If subsequent series entries succeed as well as this one, the museum will deserve high praise. Editor DeSalle has chosen good contributors, arranged their articles logically, and selected excellent illustrations. Thanks to stimulating introductory and summary questions, he keeps interest in each section of the book lively. To understand the history of infectious diseases, one must understand the state of cultures and of scientific knowledge at the time of any one outbreak. The contributors provide the necessary information and explain some of the failures in the control of such diseases. The problems resulting from misuse of antibiotics are clearly presented, as are striking examples of cross-disciplinary programs engaged in the global concern that epidemiology is. A top-priority choice for public libraries. --William Beatty

Publisher's Weekly Review

Linked to an American Museum of Natural History traveling exhibit and to a PBS special, this gathering of essays and explanations looks at what we now know about bacteria, viruses, parasites and their remedies, and at how science and medicine came to the knowledge and methods they now use. Editor and curator DeSalle (The Science Behind Jurassic Park) corrals work from 25 contributors (among them former health and human services secretary Louis Sullivan) into six discrete segments, dealing respectively with "evolution, ecology and culture"; vectors and carriers; mechanisms of infection and resistance; "outbreaks," "epidemics" and public health policy "action." Each segment includes a summary, at least one case study focusing on a single disease or outbreak and at least one laudatory profile of an individual. Section two's case study, for example, shows how Dr. John Snow used a map of London to prove that contaminated water transmitted cholera. Section five ends with a box describing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the AIDS researcher who runs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Readers can learn elsewhere in the volume about vaccines and antibodies; about prions, the malformed, DNA-less proteins that probably cause BSE (mad cow disease); and about tuberculosis in New York. Large-type questions for further study, along with photographs, charts and numerous sidebars, accentuate the book's presentation as a teaching tool and as a stimulus to further research for medically and biologically inquisitive readers of almost any age. 60 photographs and 22 illustrations. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this first volume in a new science series, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, DeSalle has collected a wealth of information about pathogens, methods of infection, the cultural implications of disease, and prevention and presented it in three ways: in brief essays written by scientific experts, profiles of renowned scientists, and case studies. Throughout, major emphasis is placed on the correlation between ecological changes and the spread of disease as well as on pathogens' ability to adapt rapidly to prevention and treatment methods. Supplementary illustrations, a lengthy glossary, and an annotated bibliography of books, videos, and web sites add to the value of this useful resource. Overall, this is a solid, reasonably priced introduction to a wide variety of issues, best suited to the general public. While faculty and graduate students may find the book lacking in depth, it is highly recommended for all undergraduate, high school, and public libraries.ÄTina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.