Seven Modern Plagues
5.5 x 8.25
5.5 x 8.25
Epidemiologists are braced for the big one: the strain of flu that rivals the pandemic of 1918-1919, which killed at least 20 million people worldwide. In recent years, we have experienced scares with a host of new influenza viruses: bird flu, swine flu, Spanish flu, Hong Kong flu, H5N1, and most recently, H5N7. While these diseases appear to emerge from thin air, in fact, human activity is driving them. And the problem is not just flu, but a series of rapidly evolving and dangerous modern plagues.
According to veterinarian and journalist Mark Walters, we are contributing to-if not overtly causing-some of the scariest epidemics of our time. Through human stories and cutting-edge science, Walters explores the origins of seven diseases: mad cow disease, HIV/AIDS, Salmonella DT104, Lyme disease, hantavirus, West Nile, and new strains of flu. He shows that they originate from manipulation of the environment, from emitting carbon and clear-cutting forests to feeding naturally herbivorous cows "recycled animal protein."
Since Walters first drew attention to these "ecodemics" in 2003 with the publication of Six Modern Plagues, much has been learned about how they developed. In this new, fully updated edition, the author presents research that precisely pinpoints the origins of HIV, confirms the link between forest fragmentation and increased risk of Lyme disease, and expands knowledge of the ecology of West Nile virus.
He also explores developments in emerging diseases, including a new chapter on flu, examining the first influenza pandemic since the Hong Kong flu of 1968; a new tick-borne infection in the Mid-West; a second novel bird flu in China; and yet a new SARS-like virus in the Middle East.
Readers will not only learn how these diseases emerged but the conditions that make future pandemics more likely. This knowledge is critical in order to prevent the next modern plague.
"Dr. Walters tells the tale of each disease like a detective story . . . . [The book] draws compelling, even disturbing, connections between disease and forces as implacable as population growth, deforestation, and modern lifestyles that consume fuel, meat, and acreage at an ever-growing pace."
New York Times
"A fascinating work of ecological journalism, utterly convincing in its argument: that our health and the health of the environment are intimately linked, and we overlook that link at our peril."
Michael Pollan, author of "Second Nature" and "The Botany of Desire"
"Refreshingly, this latest book explores the underlying shifts in human ecology and behavior that have potentiated recent epidemics…Walters achieves a balance between environmental science, clinical medicine, human interest, and social comment."
"Fascinating and readable …[A] great introduction to the topic."
"Mark Jerome Walters weaves a fine thread of human disturbances through the quilt work of modern pandemics. After being drawn engagingly into the explosive symptoms of global environmental change, readers will come to understand that we have no choice but to make peace with nature."
Paul Epstein, M.D., Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School
"[Walters's] writing is excellent, light and in easy-to-read style, and the case history in each chapter is fascinating to read."
San Francisco Book Review
Chapter 1. The Dark Side of Progress: Mad Cow Disease
Chapter 2. A Chimp Called Amandine: HIV/AIDS
Chapter 3. The Travels of Antibiotic Resistance: Salmonella DT104
Chapter 4. Of Old Growth and Arthritis: Lyme Disease
Chapter 5. A Spring to Die For: Hantavirus
Chapter 6. A Virus from the Nile
Chapter 7. Birds, Pigs, and People: The Rise of Pandemic Flus
Epilogue: MERS-CoV and Beyond
I’m overjoyed to be back at Island Press this semester, and not just because I get to continue my love affair with the UPS machine. The writing and marketing skills that I developed last semester in my internship with Island Press served me incredibly well over the summer, so I jumped at the chance to spend another semester refining my skills in such a friendly work environment. This semester, I’ve been able to delve further into the research side of publicity: finding publications and identifying reporters who might be interested in covering Island Press books.
From my experience with Seven Modern Plagues last spring, I knew that research was necessary for marketing plans, but I never realized how much of effective publicity boils down to planning. This semester, I learned how to use both Cision and internet searches to identify potential media outlets and reporters, and organized this information into spreadsheets. Because of this emphasis on planning, my work at Island Press this semester has allowed me to hone my organization skills. I learned to plan every step of the marketing process, from properly prioritizing tasks to making sure that galleys were mailed to the proper media contacts.
Beyond planning, what I’ve gotten out of this internship are the foundational skills that are vital in the workplace and the confidence to execute them successfully. I no longer agonize about sending an email to a potential employer or professor or worry that signing my correspondence “All Best,” makes me sound anything but professional. Being tasked to quickly summarize material or put together Tweets or a press release has gone from a source of worry to work that I know that I can quickly and cleanly knock off of my To Do list.
My time at Island Press has surpassed any of my other internship experiences. Working here is something special, and something that I will really miss in coming semesters. From the moment I walked in the door on my first day, I felt welcome and comfortable enough to ask the million questions that I had, which was something I had not experienced in the workplace.
I’m thankful that I got the chance to work with such a warm and welcoming group of people, especially Jaime and Meghan, who bestowed their marketing wisdom on me with a smile and patiently tolerated a million questions and mail merge tutorials.
Publicity and marketing associate at Island Press; avid reader and tea drinker.