David Quammen’s Spillover is a great new book to read as flu season heats up. The author looks at how and why zoonotic diseases may transfer from their traditional population to humans. It also gets my vote for “best cover” of 2012.
If one compares death statistics, we’re much more likely to die from a small microbe than a large disaster, which is perhaps a good argument for more money going into medical research. Because while no one lives forever, there is no need to hasten the journey. So it can’t hurt to find out more about our nemeses, and new ways of dealing with them. I didn’t realize how many harmful bugs have crossed over from a variety of animal hosts to– hmm, well, yes, a different animal host (people–us– that is). There are a lot of interesting books in the “infectious disease” section, and we also have lots of other intriguing books on influenza, especially the great influenza pandemic of 1918.