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Health & Fitness Contagious

On Pandemics

Deadly Diseases from Bubonic Plague to Coronavirus

by (author) David Waltner-Toews

Publisher
Greystone Books Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2020
Category
Contagious, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Disease & Health Issues
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781771648110
    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
    $22.95
  • Downloadable audio file

    ISBN
    9781771648134
    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
    $22.95

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Description

Containing important information about the coronavirus, this comprehensive, easy-to-follow primer on pandemics, epidemics, and the panics they ignite around the world also shares solutions for a safer, healthier future.

“A quiet little gem of understanding in a cacophony of panic and fear.” 
Quill & Quire, STARRED review

Authored by a leading epidemiologist, this engrossing book answers our questions about animal diseases that jump to humans—called zoonoses—including what attracts them to humans, why they have become more common in recent history, and how we can keep them at bay. 

Almost all pandemics and epidemics have been caused by diseases that come to us from animals, including SARS, Ebola, and—now—Covid-19. Epidemiologist, veterinarian, and ecosystem health specialist, David Waltner-Toews, gathers the latest research to profile dozens of illnesses in On Pandemics. Chapters are broken into short, dynamic explainers, each one tackling a different disease. Readers will discover:

  • Why zoonotic diseases jump from animals to humans—and why some decide to stick around for good
  • How governments have responded to pandemics and epidemics throughout history, for better or for worse.
  • The role of climate change, industrialized farming, cultural practices, biodiversity loss, and globalization in making these diseases not only possible, but inevitable outcomes of our modern lifestyles.

Coronaviruses, such as those that cause SARS and Covid-19, have likely made bats their home for centuries. Until SARS came along, we didn’t know they were there, nor do we know how many other death-dealing viruses might be living undetected in wildlife. On Pandemics shows the greater impact of animal-borne diseases on our world, and encourages us to re-examine our role in pandemics, if not for our own health, then for the health of our planet.

Published originally in 2007 as The Chickens Fight Back: Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases that Jump from Animals to Humans, this book has been updated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Waltner-Toews makes truly entertaining reading.”
Globe and Mail

“A page-turner presented with irreverent humour and many hair-raising anecdotes.”
Vitality Magazine

About the author

David Waltner-Toews is a veterinary epidemiologist and university professor emeritus at the University of Guelph. He was founding president of Veterinarians without Borders / Vétérinaires sans Frontières – Canada and a founding member of Communities of Practice for Ecosystem Approaches to Health in Canada. In 2010 the International Association for Ecology and Health presented him with the inaugural award for contributions to ecosystem approaches to health, and in 2019 he received an award from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association recognizing “veterinarians who have exhibited exceptional acts of valour and commitment in the face of adversity to service the community.”

Besides being an author of many scholarly books and articles, he has published six books of poetry, a collection of recipes and dramatic monologues, a collection of short stories, two novels and various books of popular science including On Pandemics: Deadly Diseases from Bubonic Plague to Coronavirus; The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology and a Sustainable Society; Eat the Beetles: An Exploration into our Conflicted Relationship with Insects and Food, Sex and Salmonella: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick. His nonfiction books have won awards in the US and Canada, and have been published in Japanese, French, Chinese and Arabic.

 

David Waltner-Toews' profile page

Editorial Reviews

 “[This book] asks us to examine the societal set-up that makes these diseases possible, including such inequities as overcrowded cities, poverty, slums, and a lack of clean water. A quiet little gem of understanding in a cacophony of panic and fear.”
Quill & Quire

“Waltner-Toews is quite clear about the message, and about the sort of science that will be required, not merely for coexisting with zoonoses but also for sustainable living in general. [His] narrative about ourselves in our natural context (not always benign!) indicates the way to a solution.”
Science Direct

“Exactly the kind of book medical and nursing students should be reading. We need more like David Waltner-Toews: informed folks who not only care deeply about animals but can explain why humans have turned our dysfunctional yet collective fate into comedy or tragedy.”
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“The combination of entertaining and educationally sound is rare and precious, and is deployed here to excellent effect to describe and explain problems ranging from avian flu and SADS through mad cow disease to plague and Chagas disease.”
John M Last, MD, Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology, University of Ottawa

“This comprehensive account … carefully documents the science of the diverse disease agents and the myriad of biologic, geographic, behavioral, and cultural factors that influence the occurrence and spread of the diseases that they cause.”
Peter M. Schantz, VMD, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Protection

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