Sunday, October 28, 2012

Show for Oct. 28, 2012. From Animals to Us: David Quammen on Zoonotic Disease.

There’s more between humans and our fellow animals than a common ancestry and a common planet. We also share some really gnarly pathogens. Our “infernal, aboriginal connectedness,” as David Quammen puts it, makes humanity a target-rich environment for zoonoses – diseases that spring up in other species and leap to us. In fact, most of our infectious maladies may have gotten their start in animals, and the latest wave of emergent contagions, including HIV, Ebola, SARS, Hantavirus, Lyme disease, avian flu and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow) all have non-human beginnings.

David has spent the last few years absorbing the latest research, hanging with scientists and Indiana Jonesing his way through jungles and caves (with respirator and hazmat suit in place of fedora and bomber jacket), in pursuit of zoonotic wisdom. His new book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, is simultaneously a serious introduction to the biology and epidemiology of animal-to-human disease, a series of medical adventure stories and a somber warning (he says human actions are responsible for the uptick in spillovers).

Despite the scary cover, David Quammen’s book eschews
the sensational and sticks to the science.

You can download the MP3 here (if using a Mac, control-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” If using a PC, right-click and choose Save Target As…”)