padThe Invisible Enemy A Natural History of Viruses

by Dorothy H. Crawford

Viruses are disarmingly small and simple. Nevertheless, the smallpox virus killed over 300 million people in the 20th century before it was eradicated in 1980. The AIDS virus, HIV, is now the world's biggest killer infection and is the single most common cause of death in Africa. In recent years, the outbreaks of several lethal viruses such as Ebola and Hanta virus have caused great public concern and yet most people remain woefully ill informed.

In The Invisible Enemy, Dorothy Crawford explains lucidly and accessibly all about the natural history of these deadly parasites and discusses controversial subjects such as chronic fatigue syndrome and Gulf War Syndrome. The book then considers more general issues such as how man has coped with viruses in the past, where new viruses come from, and whether a new virus could wipe out the human race. In the last chapter the author attempts to answer the vital question; who will be the final victor-man or virus?

--from Oxford University Press

In 1969, the U.S. Surgeon General declared, "We can now close the book on infectious diseases," suggesting that modern medicine had conquered all severe infections. Just 10 years later, however, the AIDS pandemic began. Today, the AIDS virus, HIV, is the world's most deadly infection and the most common cause of death in Africa. Crawford's guide to virology illustrates how such viruses continue to proliferate by giving readers "the nuts and bolts of viruses": how they take hold of their hosts, survive, and reproduce. In chapters that specifically explore emerging, acute, chronic, and cancer-causing infections, the author details past outbreaks of lethal viruses as well as new threats such as AIDS, Ebola, and even mad cow disease. The last, caused not by a classical virus but by a strange infectious agent still being defined, shows that the book isn't nearly closed on these invisible enemies.

Oxford University Press, 2000, 275 p., 4 15/16" X 7 1/16", hardcover

Invisible Enemy, The

How to Media
A Service of Science News Books
28 Slocum Place
Long Branch, NJ 07740

To subscribe to Science News call 1-800-552-4412

Copyright 2002, Science Service