Remember when I said Spook wasn’t that spooky? Y’all I should have posted about Spillover:Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen on Halloween because it’s way scarier. It’s about zoonosis, which is to say diseases that infect animals and humans – bird flu, Ebola, all that kind of fun stuff. Spooks are kind of maybe out there if you’re generous, but who cares when there are germs ready to KILL US ALL?

If you are a hypochondriac this is probably not the book for you unless you enjoy thinking you have a headline-worthy virus every time you sneeze. (And if you do, I am not here to judge your hobbies.) But it’s actually not as alarmist a book as the subtitle (and snarling cover monkey) might lead you to believe. If you are feeling nerdy and healthy this is fascinating stuff: diseases that apparently pop out of nowhere and wreak deathly havoc then retreat back into their animal hosts or maybe get on a plane and travel the world. And the scientists who put on their masks and scour the forest or the markets of China, collecting samples and trying to make sense of it all.

For those of you who aren’t going to read it, the most riveting lessons are perhaps: don’t hang out in bat caves and if you see dead chimpanzees/gorillas in the woods just keep right on walking.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wash my hands.

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1 Response to Spillover

  1. Sounds fascinating! I am weirdly obsessed with epidemiology in all of its manifestations, and zoonosis is particularly interesting because it makes it so difficult to protect against. I mean, obviously, it’s bad, we don’t want diseases from animals; but it’s also so interesting to me!

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