The next big and murderous human pandemic, the one that kills us in millions, will be caused by a new disease-new to humans, anyway, so says the author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic, David Quammen. The bug that's responsible will be strange, unfamiliar, but it won't come from outer space. Odds are that the killer pathogen-most likely a virus-will spill over into humans from a nonhuman animal.
David Quammen's Spillover is a work of science reporting, history, and adventuresome travel, tracking this subject around the world. For five years, Quammen shadowed scientists into the field-a rooftop in Bangladesh, a forest in the Congo, a Chinese rat farm, a suburban woodland in Duchess County, New York-and through their high-biosecurity laboratories. He interviewed survivors and gathered stories of the dead. He found surprises in the latest research, alarm among public health officials, and deep concern in the eyes of researchers. Spillover delivers the science, the history, the mystery, and the human anguish as page-turning drama.