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Publisher's Summary

Authored by a leading epidemiologist, this engrossing audiobook answers our questions about animal diseases that jump to humans - called zoonoses - including what attracts them to humans, why they have become more common in recent history, and how we can keep them at bay.

Almost all pandemics and epidemics have been caused by diseases that come to us from animals, including SARS, Ebola, and - now - COVID-19. Epidemiologist, veterinarian, and ecosystem health specialist David Waltner-Toews gathers the latest research to profile dozens of illnesses in On Pandemics. Chapters are broken into short, dynamic explainers, each one tackling a different disease. Listeners will discover:

  • Why zoonotic diseases jump from animals to humans - and why some decide to stick around for good.
  • How governments have responded to pandemics and epidemics throughout history, for better or for worse.
  • The role of climate change, industrialized farming, cultural practices, biodiversity loss, and globalization in making these diseases not only possible, but inevitable outcomes of our modern lifestyles.

Coronaviruses, such as those that cause SARS and COVID-19, have made bats their home for centuries. Until SARS came along, we didn’t know they were there, nor do we know how many other death-dealing viruses might be living undetected in wildlife. On Pandemics shows the greater impact of animal-borne diseases on our world and encourages us to reexamine our role in pandemics, if not for our own health, then for the health of our planet.

Published originally in 2007 as The Chickens Fight Back: Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases That Jump from Animals to Humans, this audiobook has been updated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

©2020 David Waltner-Toews (P)2020 Greystone Books

Critic Reviews

“A quiet little gem of understanding in a cacophony of panic and fear.” (Quill & Quire, starred review)

“Waltner-Toews makes truly entertaining reading.” (Globe and Mail

“A page-turner presented with irreverent humour and many hair-raising anecdotes.” (Vitality Magazine

What listeners say about On Pandemics

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Entertaining and educational!

I really enjoyed the first-hand stories the author related about his experiences around the world while studying zoonoses and how animal diseases affect humans (and vice versa). But be warned! If you're squeamish and aren't familiar with the world of parasites, viruses, and bacteria, you may never cuddle an animal again. Or eat certain meats. Or drink the water.

I did knock a star off the narration because, while the narrator has a good voice, I cringed every time he pronounced "Albert Camus" as "KAM-us" with a long A sound -- it's "kam-OO" with a short A, and the final S isn't pronounced! I can't help but wonder what else he mispronounced. (So, okay, I imagine it's a minor irritation for most people, but such things set my editorial teeth on edge.)

7 people found this helpful