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Includes bibliographical references (p. 429-467) and index.
Introduction -- The war between microbes and men -- Early humans and their diseases -- The seeds of change -- Mosquitoes, malaria, and gene wars -- Invitation to a minute worm: the schistosomes -- Braving new worlds: invisible enemies of settlers -- Domesticated animals and disease -- Cows, mycobacteria, and tuberculosis -- The moral disease: leprosy -- The coming of civilization -- Syphilis: the great change artist -- Memories of smallpox -- Pestilence, plague, and rats -- Of lice and men: plus ticks, mites, and chiggers -- Marching to a new world order: European expansion and the Industrial Revolution -- Route to fame and gripe: cholera, the salmonella gang, and other prominent gut bugs -- Transoceanic hitchhikers: yellow fever and its Dengue cousin -- Food for thought: they mystery diseases -- The globalization of influenza -- Diseases of modern civilization -- The new viral wars and sleeping dragons -- Back to the future.
Recent interest in new diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, and the resurgence of older diseases like tuberculosis has fostered questions about the history of human infectious diseases. How did they evolve? Where did they originate? What natural factors have stalled the progression of diseases or made them possible? How does a microorganism become a pathogen? How have infectious diseases changed through time? What can we do to control their occurrence?
Ethne Barnes offers answers to these questions, using information from history and medicine as well as from anthropology. She focuses on changes in the patterns of human behavior through cultural evolution and how they have affected the development of human diseases.
Barnes offers general overviews of every variety of disease and their carriers, from insects and worms through rodent vectors to household pets and farm animals. She devotes whole chapters to major infectious diseases such as leprosy, syphilis, smallpox, and influenza. Other chapters concentrate on categories of diseases ("gut bugs," for example, including cholera, typhus, and salmonella). The final chapters cover diseases that have made headlines in recent years, among them mad cow disease, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease.