April 23, 2014

Pandemics past and present

Pandemic Survival: It's Why You're Alive
by Ann Love & Jane Drake

Throughout history, human beings have fallen prey to numerous plagues and pandemics. In Pandemic Survival, the authors take readers on a journey from ancient epidemics to modern day SARS, detailing the causes, symptoms, treatments, and preventions. It starts off a bit repetitively - people fall mysteriously ill, doctors try dubious treatment methods, people die or recover - but eventually gets more interesting. There are enough gross details to keep kids reading, and Bill Slavin's illustrations keep things light. As for why we're alive? Despite everything, we're still here.

Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease
by Jeanette Farrell

Smallpox, leprosy, plague, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, AIDS: these are the seven diseases that have had the most effect on human history. Part history lesson, part biology lesson, Invisible Enemies offers a wealth of detail about diverse societies and the often gruesome and unethical practices committed in the search for cures. You'll learn all sorts of things that you never knew before, like orphans being used to test vaccines, that armadillos can contract leprosy, and that people suspected of causing disease were brutally massacred. Reproductions of paintings, photographs, cartoons and health posters showcase the primitive fears and superstitions that existed at the time.

With a fairly extensive bibliography, index, and selected readings for further study.

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