Evolution of Infectious Disease

Paperback | October 15, 1996

byPaul W. Ewald

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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 aself-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 ofdetermining 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 aclear, accessible style, it is intended for a wide readership among professionals in these fields and general readers interested in science and health.

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From Our Editors

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 ...

From the Publisher

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 k...

From the Jacket

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 ...

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 th...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 6.14 × 9.25 × 0.91 inPublished:October 15, 1996Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195111397

ISBN - 13:9780195111392

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Table of Contents

1. Why This Book?2. Symptomatic Treatment (Or How to Bind The Origin of Species to The Physician's Desk Reference)3. Vectors, Vertical Transmission, and the Evolution of Virulence4. How to be Severe without Vectors5. When Water Moves like a Mosquito6. Attendant-Borne Transmission (Or How are Doctors and Nurses like Mosquitoes, Machetes, and Moving Water?)7. War and Disease8. AIDS: Where Did it Come From and Where is it Going?9. The Fight Against AIDS: Biomedical Strategies and HIV's Evolutionary Responses10. A Look Backward...11. ...And a Glimpse Forward (Or WHO Needs Darwin)

From Our Editors

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

Editorial Reviews

"Dr. Ewald introduces an evolutionary approach to viewing pathogens in the book.... This analysis provides a synthesis of principles from health science, epidemiology and evolutionary biology, yet the text is still comprehensible to a general audience."--Yale Scientific