Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic” is a book by David Quammen, an American science and travel writer. It was published in 2012 but has become relevant again under the current coronavirus epidemic and is being snapped up in bookstores.

It is an investigation conducted around the world through the collection of direct testimonies and scientific documentation. It reconstructs the dynamics of the viruses that create spillovers; that is, they pass from animal to man. It describes the appearance of Ebola in 1976, of HIV-1 in 1981, of HIV-2 in 1986, up to Sars in 2003 and swine flu in 2009.

Quammen followed scientists for six years as they worked in Congolese forests, on Australian farms and in the markets of crowded Chinese cities. Through interviews with witnesses, doctors and survivors, he explains how and why these diseases emerge, asking himself the question: what will be the next one?


(Images: adelphi.it, Wikimedia Commons)

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