The Life and Death of Epidemics Publication date : May 30, 2013
Patrice Debré is a professor and chief of immunology at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, in Paris, and directs a research unit at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm). He is the author of Louis Pasteur (2010), Le Roman de la vie (1999) and Jacques Monod (1998).
Jean-Paul Gonzalez is a virologist and the director general of the International Medical Research Centre of Franceville, Gabon. He is the author of Virus émergents.
From 1940 to 2004, 330 new infections diseases were identified in the southern hemisphere. Although for years scientists had thought the threat of viruses, microbes and bacteria could be overcome with antibiotics, the AIDs epidemic introduced a totally different era.
Since then, ‘new diseases’ seem to keep multiplying, surging out of nowhere to threaten humanity and reviving age-old fears of the countless epidemics that left devastation in their wake.
But in reality, the emergence of diseases is simply one of the logical outcomes of life. The authors show us how and why, as they examine parasite-borne diseases, plague, pestilence and such recent phenomena as Chikungunya and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The total eradication of such diseases may be impossible but we can make sure we are well prepared for a struggle that will not disappear.
• An illuminating history of infections diseases, explained through their origins.
• An original reflection on the worldwide struggle against disease and on the weapons we have at our disposal.