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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Global Flu and You

A History of Influenza

Winter brings snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, but these climatic conditions are also the harbingers of another time of year: flu season. We all know the signs—chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, coughing—and hope that this common illness will make us sick for only a few days. But though the flu may seem harmless, influenza results in between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths every year and can spread virulently around the world. In pandemic years, the flu can kill millions.
The recurrence of the Spanish Flu virus, the appearance and spread of Bird Flu, and the 2009 Swine Flu have heightened concerns about the dangers posed by flu pandemics. Drawing on his extensive research into influenza pandemics, George Dehner refutes the idea that these are a new phenomenon. In Global Flu and You, he traces the origins of the disease and outlines the societal and cultural changes that enabled the virus to become an epidemic threat. He reveals that while medical and scientific breakthroughs in studying and protecting against the virus have made rapid progress, demographic, economic, and technical changes have served to speed up and amplify the potential impacts of an influenza pandemic.
Accessibly written for any reader, Global Flu and You exposes the facts and fictions of an illness we could all succumb to and is a must-read for anyone concerned with their own—and the world’s—health.

191 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2012

Biological Sciences: Microbiology

History of Science


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“In these times of pandemic anxiety over bird flu and swine flu I can think of few better antidotes than Global Flu and You. George Dehner is that rare animal, a writer who understands the complex history and science of influenza and can explain those complexities to the general reader in an accessible and level-headed manner.”

Dr Mark Honigsbaum, author of Enza: The Forgotten Story of Britain and the Great

“At last, an accurate and accessible account of the history of influenza virus and the pandemics it causes.”

Dorothy Crawford, author of The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses

“Dehner provides a solid grounding in the history and science related to pandemic influenza.”

History in Review

Table of Contents


1. Know Your Enemy
2. The Murky Past of Influenza
3. Misidentifications and False Starts
4. The 1920s to the 1980s
5. Renewed Fears of Flu
6. Yet Another Surprise


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