The Human Struggle Against InfectionBook - 2006
A North Carolina woman dies of a flesh-eating bacterial disease. Thousands of people in West Africa are suffering from cholera. And antibiotics are rapidly becoming less and less effective at fighting what were once mild infections. The biggest threat to the future of human society may not be terrorist attacks or nuclear war, but rather microscopic bacteria. Immunologist Norbert Gualde explains in Resistance the dangers we face from bacterial resistance, asserting that we must confront the reality awaiting us--the next fatal plague may occur sooner than we think.
Over the course of the twentieth century, incredible advances in medicine inspired a utopian belief among many that all common infectious diseases would eventually be eradicated. But Resistance shows that this dream is an impossible one. The book’s riveting narrative reveals how new infectious agents and diseases are being discovered every day and how bacteria previously thought to have been destroyed are returning with a vengeance. Drawing upon the history of past epidemics, Gualde explores how new outbreaks might be predicted and controlled. He also investigates the potentially devastating social and political impact of such public health disasters, particularly in underdeveloped countries in the southern hemisphere. He ultimately argues that the constant interaction between man and microorganisms will inevitably catalyze future epidemics similar to the horrific ones of centuries past.
Global outbreak monitoring and medical research on the human body’s immune system are beginning to produce effective strategies against bacterial resistance. But the most important weapon is awareness of the crisis, and this engrossing and brilliantly translated study will serve as a wake-up call for us all.
The somewhat utopian predictions that infectious disease could be effectively wiped out, widespread in government and medical circles not so many years ago, have become muted in the face of AIDS and the emergence of newer infectious threats. Gualde (immunology, U. Victor Segalen, France) gives us a tour both of the new landscape of global infectious disease and of the long history of human interactions with micro-organisms, presenting the basic science in a manner understandable to the general reader and exploring the societal implications of coming epidemics. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)