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Staff Review: Pandemic

"Pandemic" by Connie Goldsmith

Cover: 'Pandemic'

I love a good book about pandemics. For whatever reason, they fascinate me. Learning the reasons behind the Black Death or Ebola can be an adventure story and "Pandemic" covers everything you need to know.  This book was very readable, with great pictures of viruses, bacteria and  insects, as well as interesting side notes that help clarify details. 

This book explores how climate change can influence things like mosquitoes and where they can survive.  It also talks about how bacteria and viruses can exchange DNA particles to enhance their ability to survive an attack of antibiotics or antivirals.  Probably the most fascinating part was the section on influenza.  After looking at the influenza pandemic of 1918, the author goes on to describe how the flu virus changes from year to year and what animals can give the flu to humans and back again. (Basically, stay away from pigs and birds; both carry flu viruses that can infect humans.)  Climate change is also a  big factor. The author shares the idea of zombie microbes - microbes that have remained viable (could still infect someone) even after years of being frozen in the ice of the Arctic.  Many of these are illnesses that we no longer see, so we don't have any kind of protection from them. 

This book was very readable and approachable, especially if you are interested in diseases and pandemics. This a wonderful general introduction to particular diseases and how climate change, and man made changes can influence the spread of disease. 

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Nonfiction, Epidemics, Health


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