The word pandemic is bound to set off triggers of fear and anxiety in most people. Our movies and nightly news reports are filled with hyperbolic and sensationalized versions of viruses and bacterial infections. In Pandemics: Our Fears and the Facts, Dr. Sunetra Gupta takes a critical look at our planet’s history of widespread disease and the potentiality of new attacks. Performed with the serious yet assuring voice from veteran Jones Allen, this audiobook is a valuable resource for those looking to cut through all of the nonsense and get an honest and careful examination of infectious diseases.
History books abound with accounts of large scale destruction wrought by infectious disease. As recently as 1918, a pandemic of influenza claimed over 50 million lives worldwide. The advent of drugs and vaccines led to an era of hope when we thought our battles with infectious disease were won, but our optimism has been eroded by the recognition that many pathogens have the capacity to transform themselves and escape our efforts to eradicate them. Are we now facing an inevitable repeat of a calamity such as the 1918 influenza pandemic or the Black Death? Can we anticipate and thwart such an event, or are we willfully creating the conditions that would promote the emergence of new and highly virulent human infectious disease?
Sunetra Gupta is Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford specializing in infectious diseases. She holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from the University of London. She has been awarded the Scientific Medal by the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award for her scientific research. She is also a novelist whose books have been awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Southern Arts Literature Prize, shortlisted for the Crossword Award, and long-listed for the DSC and Orange Prizes.
This short read provides a very basic introduction to the topic of infectious diseases. If you have no prior knowledge of the topic, then it would be a good place to start. If, however, you have an established interest or any prior knowledge of the subject, then it is going to be far too basic.