Influenza: The Last Great Plague (Revised Edition)
Pestilences of many sorts have brought death and misery to mankind throughout history. Over the last 100 years, however, most of these plagues have been brought under control and no longer rage unchecked every few years. But there is one disease that continues to flourish and cause pandemics that sweep round the world periodically without restraint by modern medical science: this is influenza—the last of the great plagues. In language that the nonmedical reader can understand, this book describes how investigators in many countries have followed clues and gradually accumulated knowledge that has enabled them to understand the natural history of the influenza virus, which has killed millions of people and is one of the greatest enemies of man. The quest has now reached the exciting stage where the biological home of the virus has been tracked down to its primitive breeding ground in wild birds. From there, after undergoing certain changes, it proceeds to infect man. Our knowledge has now reached the stage where a review is needed of the whole situation, in order to plan the future strategy against this resourceful enemy. This book provides such a review. It will interest and enlighten the general reader, and will provide the doctor, research virologist, and public health authority with a broad perspective of the epidemic behavior of influenza from the earliest historical records to the latest research the time is right to start looking for ways of preventing future pandemics.