The COVID-19 pandemic has done much more than transform our social behavior. It has also drawn our attention to past and future epidemics. Experts know very well that this has not been the first nor will it be the last, and that we must remain vigilant for future threats of this type.
Indeed, if we look to the past, humanity has not always come out well with such attacks.
Even when they affected only a small part of the world, and therefore were not a global phenomenon, the consequences of the epidemics became as serious or more serious than those of COVID-19.
Let us only remember the effects of the plague, smallpox, cholera or flu at certain times in our history.
Some of these epidemics occurred many centuries ago, and the chaos and damage they caused can only be discerned thanks to archeology. It is not easy to find information about them, so a book that accompanies us on a complete journey through that history is a very opportune initiative in these times.
That has been the goal of Fernando Adam Fresno, a veterinarian and passionate about microbiology, who in this book offers readers a fascinating and terrifying journey about what these small organisms can cause and how the world has changed because of them. .
The author introduces us first to the world of microbes and their ability to cause disease. Its first chapter is dedicated to explaining how they were discovered and how science has managed to find out what they are like and what they are capable of doing.
The following sections of the book are configured to relate how the most important epidemics in history were. Obviously there were more, but they have been lost in the memory of mankind. Some scientists believe that epidemics of this kind may have nearly wiped out early humans when they were still just a small group of beings trying to survive.
The epidemics that have been indelibly etched on the pages of history are much more recent, but still date back to the latter part of the ancient age. We speak, for example, of the plague, which acted and returned several times over the centuries, adopting various names, such as the Justinian plague, the black plague, or the plague of the nineteenth century. In this and subsequent chapters, Adam will describe the microorganism responsible, how the disease it caused was transmitted, how the epidemic evolved and who it affected, and the effects it had on the population.
The following chapters will deal with the epidemics of smallpox, cholera, rabies, tuberculosis, malaria, bird flu, and AIDS. In this long journey, medicine has evolved, and in some cases vaccines have managed to overcome the problem. In others, science has not yet come up with the appropriate solution.
By the end of the book there are epidemics such as Ebola or Marburg. They are only samples of terrible epidemics that have not been less dangerous because they have a smaller geographical scope. A pandemic of this type of virus could be a disaster, as another has already shown, that of COVID-19, which has revealed how dangerous it is to enter animal ecosystems where humans are not protected.
The work includes bibliographic recommendations, anecdotes, historical notes, etc., as well as some images and photographs that illustrate it.
A magnificent outreach work that will open the eyes of many people to the extent to which humanity as a whole must be aware of the world it shares with other organisms, and that will help readers to appreciate the immense work done over centuries by doctors and scientists who have fought to defend us from this phenomenon capable of changing our society.
Oberon Editions. 2021. Softcover, 262 pages. ISBN: 978-84-415-4370-6
You can purchase this book here.