Emerging Epidemics: The Menace of New Infections

Emerging Epidemics book cover borderEmerging Epidemics: The Menace of New Infections (originally published as Secret Agents: The Menace of Emerging Infections) explores today’s most ominous infectious disease threats: pandemic influenza, foodborne illness, antibiotic resistance, West Nile virus and other zoonotic infections, infectious causes of chronic disease, and bioterrorism. In rich and compelling prose that draws on both frontline reporting and historical research, the book describes how the complexities and interconnectedness of the modern world have ushered in new diseases, and why public health cannot afford to let down its guard.

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Praise for Emerging Epidemics: The Menace of New Infections
(originally published as Secret Agents: The Menace of Emerging Infections)

“…an authoritative, well-paced, vividly written book that will scare the pants off you. It’s so up-to-date it includes even the recent anthrax attacks… All in all, Drexler has produced a fascinating book that everyone (except perhaps serious hypochondriacs) ought to read.”

The New York Times Book Review, February 17, 2002

“Any outbreak of unknown cause is a mystery waiting to be solved, and the best outbreak stories have the quality of a good detective yarn. Drexler pieces together the interplay of bungles, the barriers of ego and ambition, and the lucky breaks …well-written, well-researched …a fine and valuable effort.”

Washington Post Book World, March 17, 2002

Secret Agents weaves together health agency turf battles and geopolitics, the biology of viruses and ticks, the health problems of bovines and vegetarians, why dirt seldom makes people sick but hospitals often do, and why the 1918 pandemic that killed 30 million was called the Spanish flu even though it originated in Kansas… Drexler’s crystal-clear prose reads like a conversation with a master storyteller. This book will amaze and delight anyone fascinated by scientific mysteries.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2002

“…Drexler’s gripping book is an especially readable account of the dangerous common ground where man and microbes meet. Richly researched and written in simple, conversational language…”

USA Today, February 18, 2002

Secret Agents takes its place as a must-read for the latest on this crucial health issue. … authoritative, compelling … vivid … Drexler’s chapters read like dispatches from a war.”

The Baltimore Sun, March 10, 2002

“…a lively and well-researched story … Secret Agents is, however, much more than a market-attuned contemporary thriller. Drexler provides a well-organized and detailed account of several major outbreaks of infectious diseases (predominantly in the United States) and the issues associated with them … It is clear that Drexler appreciates the evolutionary and historical depth of this story of the relationship between microbes and humans.”

Science, February 22, 2002

“These hard-hitting/next-day accounts are written with a sharply pointed pen, creating Abe Hirschfeld-like character sketches with whimsical views and an occasional amusing epiphany … The book reads like a perfect multicourse meal, attractively presented and served with the right amount of clinically correct, surprisingly up-to-date information on dozens of conditions. Drexler’s Dorothy Parker-like bon mots and asides are the perfect sauces to compliment the feast. The last chapter … is a well-deserved dessert served after a most satisfying meal. Secret Agents is a most delightful read, and, like other very special treats, it should be read slowly, savored, and remembered.”

Medscape, May 28, 2002

“…an engrossing overview… Drexler is skilled at making the biology of pathogens accessible to general readers. …as bioterrorism (which Drexler addresses) becomes a growing threat, her calls for funding public health organizations and global disease-fighting coalitions are worth reiterating.”

Publishers Weekly, February 4, 2002

“One can pick up a chapter, be entertained by Ms. Drexler’s prose (that of an accomplished science/medical writer), and come away feeling slightly smarter for the effort … The book delves into the personalities, day-to-day events, and the very human nature of disease control. It is chock-full of first-person accounts from the most relevant individuals in each area.”

– American Public Health Association, March 26, 2004

“With considerable talent, Drexler makes all of these often complex concepts and pieces of scientific knowledge easily accessible to the general reader. She displays the know-how of the scientific journalist who combines rigour of argumentation with a superb gift for finding the right striking expression … Written by an extremely talented writer, Secret Agents should be consumed without moderation by all those with an interest in health, or just in life itself. “

Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2002, 80 (10)