Prizewinning science journalist Sonia Shah presents a startling examination of the pandemics that have ravaged humanity―and how history prepares us to confront the most serious acute global health emergency of our time. Now with a new preface written in response to COVID-19.
In Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Coronaviruses and Beyond, Sonia Shah interweaves history, original reportage, and personal narrative to explore the origins of epidemics, drawing parallels between cholera―one of history’s most deadly and disruptive pandemic-causing pathogens―and the new diseases that stalk humankind today. She tracks each stage of cholera’s dramatic journey, from its emergence in the South Asian hinterlands as a harmless microbe to its rapid dispersal across the nineteenth-century world, all the way to its latest beachhead in Haiti. Along the way she reports on the pathogens now following in cholera’s footsteps, from the MRSA bacterium that besieges her own family to the never-before-seen killers coming out of China’s wet markets, the surgical wards of New Delhi, and the suburban backyards of the East Coast.