.He’s like the “Indiana Jones” of science writers. He puts on his boots, his comfortable clothes and goes out to the world (always carrying a notepad, of course). But he does not seek for historical items but historical and future diseases.
In Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, the last book of David Quammen, the author shadowed scientists into the field-a rooftop in Bangladesh, a forest in the Congo, a Chinese rat farm, a suburban woodland in Duchess County, New York-and through their high-biosecurity laboratories.
“There are enough things out there to lose sleep over,” he said in an interview in the The New York Times. “I hope, instead, that readers will experience what I’ve experienced and feel that to understand this phenomenon is empowering. It’s serious, and we need to know about it, and there are some things to be done”.
Spillover explores the possibility for the next big and murderous human pandemic could be transmissible from animals to humans in a quick twist of fate. “The bug that’s responsible will be strange, unfamiliar, but it won’t come from outer space. Odds are that the killer pathogen-most likely a virus-will spill over into humans from a nonhuman animal”, said the author on his web site.
- The Subject Is Science, the Style Is Faulkner, by Charles McGrath, The New York Times, October 19, 2012.
- They Are So Beastly, These Ticks and Plagues, by Dwight Garner, The New York Times, October 2, 2012.
- Breeding Ground, by Sonia Shah, The New York Times, October 19, 2012.
Quammen, David: Spillover. Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, W. W. Norton & Company, 2012, 587 p.