Emerging Infectious Diseases and Society

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9781137471918: Emerging Infectious Diseases and Society

"The incidence of infectious diseases has increased in the past two decades with a threat of further increase in the future [...] This volume is a social chronicle of the cultural, political and historical context in which this new public health threat emerged. This is an erudite, informative, and insightful book on how it all happened." - Choice Magazine "In Emerging Infectious Diseases and Society, Peter Washer tells a very simple yet effective story of how emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases have plagued society throughout the ages [...] The simple use of language combined with the logical flow of information in this book makes it an interesting read for specialists and the public alike." - The Lancet "This book should be read by anybody with an interest in emerging infectious diseases, but also by those interested in how science and society are interwoven in the modern world. It should be required reading for people carrying out research in various fields related to the sociology of health and illness." - Sociology of Health and Illness

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Shortlisted for the British Sociological Association's Sociology of Health and Illness Book Prize in 2011 By the 1970s, medicine appeared to have conquered infectious diseases. A century before, newly discovered germ theory had laid the foundations for advances in vaccines and antibiotics, but deaths and illness from infectious diseases had been declining in the developed world even before this 'golden age' of medicine. Infectious diseases were perceived as archaic, and future health threats seemed to come from so-called diseases of civilization, such as heart disease and cancer. The appearance of AIDS in the early 1980s radically reversed that trend, and since then over thirty new infectious diseases have been classified, including mad cow disease and antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, such as MRSA. Furthermore, old threats, such as tuberculosis, have re-emerged as they have become immune to established treatments. This fascinating study, now in paperback with a new preface, charts the rise of new infectious diseases and examines the cultural context and anxieties that surround their emergence, revealing the underlying social and political concerns that determine our response to disease in the twenty-first century.

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