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Infectious Disease

A Scientific American Reader

The international public health scare that resulted last year when a man infected with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis flew overseas from the United States and back illustrates both the fear and the potential impact of highly infectious diseases in a global age. At a time when scientists warn of the potential for an influenza epidemic to rival the deadly outbreak of 1919 and newspapers feature alarming headlines about incidences of mad cow disease, infectious disease will be a critical area of concern and scientific study in the twenty-first century.     
Infectious Disease collects thirty of the most exciting, innovative, and significant articles on communicable illness published inthe pages of ScientificAmerican magazine since 1993. With sections devoted to viral infections, infectious disease, the immune system, and global management and treatment issues, Infectious Disease provides general readers and students with an excellent overview of recent research in the field. Roger I. Glass discusses a potential vaccine for the rotavirus—a leading cause of severe childhood diarrhea world wide and frequent killer of young children in developing nations. Jeffery K. Taubenberger and colleagues investigate the virulent strain of influenza that killed up to 40 million people in 1919 to suggest treatments and recommend preventative measures. And Paul R. Epstein looks into whether global warming could be harmful to our health, untangling research that suggests that many diseases will flourish as Earth’s atmosphere heats up.      
The prominence of disease in the ecology and evolution of human society has spurred investment in research and technology development, and, as a consequence, the topic is much discussed in the general and scientific media. Infectious Disease is the essential sourcebook for anyone looking for the solid science and compelling narrative behind the stories that make headlines.


"The vital writing style of the thirty chapters, each authored by a world expert, negates any dating. . . . Each chapter stands alone as a readable review that informs at many different levels; the book is therefore suitable for the layperson wanting to know about infectious diseases or for the senior academic wanting primers outside his/her field."

Peter Billingsley | Biology

Table of Contents

Evolution and the Origins of Disease


   Are Viruses Alive?
   Luis P. Villarreal

   New Hope for Defeating Rotavirus
   Roger I. Glass

   Capturing a Killer Flu Virus
   Jeffrey K. Taubenberger, Ann H. Reid and Thomas G. Fanning

   The Unmet Challenges of Hepatitis C
   Adrian M. Di Bisceglie and Bruce R. Bacon

   Hope in a Vial
   Carol Ezzell

   A New Assault on HIV
   Gary Stix

   A Cure for Rabies?
   Rodney E. Willoughby, Jr.

   Beyond Chicken Soup
   William A. Haseltine 

   The Bacteria behind Ulcers
   Martin J. Blaser
   The Challenges of STDs
   Philip E. Ross

   Can Chlamydia Be Stopped?
   David M. Ojcius, Toni Darville and Patrick M. Bavoil

   Tackling Malaria
   Claire Panosian Dunavan

   Attacking Anthrax
   John T. A. Young and R. John Collier

   The Prion Diseases
   Stanley B. Prusiner

   Detecting Mad Cow Disease
   Stanley B. Prusiner


   Infectious Diseases and the Immune System
   William E. Paul

   Immunity’s Early-Warning System
   Luke A. J. O’Neill

   The Long Arm of the Immune System
   Jacques Banchereau

   Intrigue at the Immune Synapse
   Daniel M. Davis

   Peacekeepers of the Immune System
   Zoltan Fehervari and Simon Sakaguchi

   New Predictors of Disease
   Abner Louis Notkins

   Taming Lupus
   Moncef Zouali


   Preparing for a Pandemic
   W. Wayt Gibbs and Christine Soares

   If Smallpox Strikes Portland...
   Chris L. Barrett, Stephen G. Eubank and James P. Smith

   Is Global Warming Harmful to Health?
   Paul R. Epstein

   The Challenge of Antibiotic Resistance
   Stuart B. Levy

   Behind Enemy Lines
   K. C. Nicolaou and Christopher N. C. Boddy

   An Antibiotic Resistance Fighter
   Gary Stix

Illustration Credits

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