David Quammen on 'Spillover,' the next worldwide pandemic

'Spillover' by David Quammen
Book cover courtesy of publisher

David Quammen's new book, 'Spillover,' takes readers around the world in search of the next worldwide pandemic. The latest reports on the emerging new diseases miss a pattern: They are transmitted from wild animals to humans through spillover.

From the Science Blogs review:

"Spillover" is somewhat unique in that it doesn't read quite like your typical pop science book. It's really part basic infectious disease, part history, part travelogue. Quammen has spent a number of years as a correspondent for National Geographic, and it shows. The book is filled with not only well-documented research findings and interviews with scientists, but also with Quammen's own experience in the field, which gives the book a bit of an Indiana Jones quality. In one chapter, he details his adventure tagging along with a research team to capture bats in China, entering a cave that "felt a little like being swallowed through the multiple stomachs of a cow." This was after an earlier dinner in which he describes his encounters with the an appetizer of the "world's stinkiest fruit" (I'll keep the description of the smell to myself) with congealed pig's blood for a main dish (bringing to mind the scooping out of monkey's brains in "Temple of Doom"-and the various zoonotic diseases that could be associated with those, come to think of it).

Quammen will join The Daily Circuit Monday to discuss his book.

"One of the most fascinating things I learned while researching this book was that much of what we think we know about the origins of AIDS is wrong - in fact it likely originated from a single chimp in southeast Cameroon around 1908," he said.

What will be the next pandemic to hit North America? Comment on the blog.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.