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David Quammen: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 7:30pm

at Town Hall
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Science writer David Quammen says that the pandemic of strange new diseases is part of a single pattern, as the bugs that transmit these diseases all originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover.

The emergence of strange new diseases—Ebola, SARS, Hendra—is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse: In this age of speedy travel, it augurs a worldwide pandemic. Even scarier, says science writer David Quammen: Such phenomena are part of a single pattern, as the bugs that transmit these diseases all originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. His book, appropriately titled Spillover, tracks this subject around the world to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge, and then asks: What might the next big one be? Presented as part of Town Hall Science series, sponsored by University Book Store and Microsoft. Series media sponsorship provided by KPLU.