In this edition of Forthright Radio, originally broadcast on May 1, 2013, intrepid journalist, David Quammen, discusses his book, SPILLOVER: ANIMAL INFECTIONS& THE NEXT HUMAN PANDEMIC, in which he tracks down the animal origins of such diseases we humans are now susceptible to, including viruses such as HIV-AIDS, SARS, EBOLA, HENDRA, MARBURG, and INFLUENZA, and bacteria such as LYME DISEASE and Q FEVER.
Among the questions he investigates are: Why do new diseases emerge when they do, where they do, as they do, and not elsewhere, other ways, at other times? Is it happening more now than in the past? And perhaps the biggest question: What sort of deadly bug, with what unforeseen origins and what inexorable impacts, will emerge next?
David Quammen is the author of four books of fiction, and seven acclaimed books of nonfiction, including THE RELUCTANT MR. DARWIN and THE SONG OF THE DODO. He served as the Wallace Stegner Chair of Western American Studies at Montana State University from 2007 – 2009. He is a contributing writer for National Geographic magazine. SPILLOVER: ANIMAL INFECTIONS AND THE NEXT HUMAN PANDEMIC is more than a page turner about how microbes cross from animal species into humans and evolve into infectious diseases, it is also a chronicle of the many far flung journeys David Quammen has taken to some of the most remote parts of the globe, to interview the scientists in the field, who search for the animal reservoirs from which they come. He spoke to us from his home in Bozeman, MT.