Evolution of Infectious Disease

Evolution of Infectious Disease

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This ground-breaking work is the first book to present a Darwinian perspective on infectious disease. It views disease-producing bacteria and viruses as parasites and explains the history of disease as a host-parasite relationship, one which can evolve in many different ways and with radically different effects on the host population. The author's evolutionary approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on theory and example from the fields of epidemiology, molecular genetics, biochemistry, physiology, evolutionary ecology, and the ecology of populations and communities.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 308 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 453.59g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • frontispiece, line figures
  • 0195111397
  • 9780195111392

Review quote

From reviews of the hardback: 'I have not picked up a book on infectious disease with so much anticipation as Paul Ewald's Evolution of Infectious Disease I was not disappointed: Ewald's book is as teeming with ideas as some of us are with microbes. Evolution of Infectious Disease is a challenging and readable introduction to current thinking on the topic.' Nature '... this is a scholarly work, well-referenced, and up-to-date. Ewald has succeeded in producing an interesting and thought-provoking book.' The Lancetshow more

Back cover copy

Findings from the field of evolutionary biology are yielding dramatic insights for health scientists, especially those involved in the fight against infectious diseases. This book is the first in-depth presentation of these insights. In detailing why the pathogens that cause malaria, smallpox, tuberculosis, and AIDS have their special kinds of deadliness, the book shows how efforts to control virtually all diseases would benefit from a more thorough application of evolutionary principles. When viewed from a Darwinian perspective, a pathogen is not simply a disease-causing agent, it is a self-replicating organism driven by evolutionary pressures to pass on as many copies of itself as possible. In this context, so-called "cultural vectors" - those aspects of human behavior and the human environment that allow spread of disease from immobilized people - become more important than ever. Interventions to control diseases don't simply hinder their spread but can cause pathogens and the diseases they engender to evolve into more benign forms. In fact, the union of health science with evolutionary biology offers an entirely new dimension to policy making, as the possibility of determining the future course of many diseases becomes a reality. By presenting the first detailed explanation of an evolutionary perspective on infectious disease, the author has achieved a genuine milestone in the synthesis of health science, epidemiology, and evolutionary biology. Written in a clear, accessible style, it is intended for a wide readership among professionals in these fields and general readers interested in science and health.show more

About Paul W. Ewald

Paul W. Ewald is a professor and Chair of the Biology Department at Amherst College, and holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has been named the first George E. Burch Fellow of Theoretic Medicine and Affiliated Sciences, a position awarded by the Smithsonian Institution and hosted by the Smithsonian Tropical Institute.show more

Table of contents

1. Why this book? ; 2. Symptomatic Treatment (or How to Bind the The Origin of Species to The Physician's Desk Reference ; 3. Vectors, Vertical Transmission, and the Evolution of Virulence ; 4. How to be Severe Without Vectors ; 5. When Water Moves Like a Mosquito ; 6. Attendant-Borne Transmission (or How are Doctors and Nurses like Mosquitos, Machetes, and Moving Water?) ; 7. War and Disease ; 8. AIDS: Where Did it Come from and Where is it Going? ; 9. The Fight against AIDS: Biomedical Strategies and HIV's Evolutionary Responses ; 10. A Look Backward ... ; 11. ... and a Glimpse Forward (Or Who Needs Darwin?) ; Glossary ; Bibliography ; Indexshow more

Rating details

39 ratings
4.33 out of 5 stars
5 56% (22)
4 26% (10)
3 13% (5)
2 5% (2)
1 0% (0)
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