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

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jan 21, 2009 - Medical - 288 pages
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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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User Review  - myfanwy - LibraryThing

I settled down and opened the front cover. What? No influenza? No polio? I mean, he covers AIDS and TB, but certainly fear of polio gripped the nation for years! In any case, I sat down and began ... Read full review

When germs travel: six major epidemics that have invaded America since 1900 and the fears they have unleashed

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Infectious diseases from tuberculosis to AIDS have wrought social upheaval-and were often blamed on immigrants. ... Read full review


One Facing Tuberculosis
Two Bubonic Plague Visits San Franciscos Chinatown 47
Four Lice Typhus and Riots on the TexasMexico Border 1 11
Six Sounding the Cholera Alarm in Detroit

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About the author (2009)

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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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