by Charles Piddock

Price at time of review: $27.90
64 pp.
National Geographic Society
Washington, DC
ISBN: 1426302630

Grade Level: 5-12

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

Reading like a global murder mystery, this description of modern disease will both fascinate and inform secondary readers. The authors begin with history, as epidemiologists look for clues to today's influenza pandemics in the graves of those who died in 1918. From the Black Death to Ebola, this small but dramatic book offers readers a glimpse into the challenges that tomorrow's medicine will face. The author provides a good basis in the biology of evolving organisms, from the transformation of viruses to drug resistance in bacteria.

Environmental issues like cross-species contamination and rapid spread through air travel are addressed. Many students will find the work of the public health specialists described in the book attractive and will follow the links and references provided for more information. Like all books from National Geographic, this small hardbound edition has terrific photographs to support the secondary level text, so younger readers will find it accessible. Timelines and diagrams (of such things as viral infections and bacterial life cycles) help link the stories to course content. This book was honored as an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2009.

Review posted on 2/17/2009

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