Evolution of Infectious Disease

Oxford University Press
Free sample

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.
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About the author

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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Jan 6, 1994
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780195345193
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Infectious Diseases
Science / Life Sciences / Biology
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The immune systems of human and non-human primates have diverged over time, such that some species differ considerably in their susceptibility, symptoms, and survival of particular infectious diseases. Variation in primate immunity is such that major human pathogens - such as immunodeficiency viruses, herpesviruses and malaria-inducing species of Plasmodium - elicit striking differences in immune response between closely related species and within primate populations. These differences in immunity are the outcome of complex evolutionary processes that include interactions between the host, its pathogens and symbiont/commensal organisms. The success of some pathogens in establishing persistent infections in humans and other primates has been determined not just by the molecular evolution of the pathogen and its interactions with the host, but also by the evolution of primate behavior and ecology, microflora, immune factors and the evolution of other biological systems.

To explore how interactions between primates and their pathogens have shaped their mutual molecular evolution, Primates, Pathogens and Evolution brings together research that explores comparative primate immune function, the emergence of major and neglected primate diseases, primate-microorganism molecular interactions, and related topics. This book will be of interest to anyone curious as to why infectious diseases manifest differently in humans and their closest relatives. It will be of particular interest to scholars specializing in human and non-human primate evolution, epidemiology and immunology, and disease ecology. Primates, Pathogens and Evolution offers an overview and discussion of current findings on differences in the molecular mechanics of primate immune response, as well as on pathogen-mediated primate evolution and human and non-human primate health.

This book traces the social and environmental determinants of human infectious diseases from the Neolithic to the present day. Despite recent high profile discoveries of new pathogens, the major determinants of these emerging infections are ancient and recurring. These include changing modes of subsistence, shifting populations, environmental disruptions, and social inequalities. The recent labeling of the term "re-emerging infections" reflects a re-emergence, not so much of the diseases themselves, but rather a re-emerging awareness in affluent societies of long-standing problems that were previously ignored. An Unnatural History of Emerging Infections illustrates these recurring problems and determinants through an examination of three major epidemiological transitions. The First Transition occurred with the Agricultural Revolution beginning 10,000 years ago, bringing a rise in acute infections as the main cause of human mortality. The Second Transition first began with the Industrial Revolution; it saw a decline in infectious disease mortality and an increase in chronic diseases among wealthier nations, but less so in poorer societies. These culminated in today's "worst of both worlds syndrome" in which globalization has combined with the challenges of the First and Second Transitions to produce a Third Transition, characterized by a confluence of acute and chronic disease patterns within a single global disease ecology. This accessible text is suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate level students and researchers in the fields of epidemiology, disease ecology, anthropology, health sciences, and the history of medicine. It will also be of relevance and use to undergraduate students interested in the history and social dynamics of infectious diseases.
“... a fun and readable book that engages the imagination and retains the interest of the clinically oriented reader while conveying an understanding of the direct implications of molecular characteristics of infectious agents to the practice of medicine..” –Emerging Infectious Diseases, January 2010

“... provides a valuable overview of the basic principles and issues pertaining to the pathogenesis and prevention of infectious diseases. The illustrations, the chapter summaries with relevant information, and the case studies are all particularly useful for the targeted readers. The book is well designed and manages to convey the general concepts of the various aspects of infectious diseases without overwhelming the reader with too much information... recommended for students, trainees, or physicians who desire a well-illustrated textbook that is easy to read and that addresses the basic aspects of infectious disease.” –Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2010


The study of infectious diseases has undergone major changes since its infancy when it was largely a documentation of epidemics. It has now evolved into a dynamic phenomenon involving the ecology of the infectious agent, pathogenesis in the host, reservoirs and vetors, as well as the complex mechanisms concerned in the spread of infection and the extent to which this spread occurs. Rapid globalization has led to unprecedented interest in infectious diseases worldwide and their effect on complex population dynamics including migration, famine, fire, war, and terrorism. It is now essential for public health officials to understand the basic science behind infectious disease and, likewise, students studying ID must have a broader understanding of the implications of infectious disease in a public health context as well as clinical presentation and prevention. The clear demand for an integrated approach has led to the publication of this text.

Check out the student companion site at www.wiley.com/go/shettyinfectiousdisease

This practical handbook provides readers with a quick but comprehensive overview of the major infectious disease topics and clinical approach to diagnosis and management. Covering the core areas of importance to students, residents, fellows, and practitioners in any discipline, the book presents a systematic method for understanding basic mechanisms, establishing a diagnosis, and implementing appropriate treatment for commonly encountered problems. Written in outline format with 46 short, focused chapters, this ready reference is essential reading for physicians looking for guidance in navigating the constellation of symptoms and myriad treatment options for patients with infectious diseases.

Organized by body system, each section begins with a general framework covering clinical presentation, laboratory and diagnostic evaluation, and empirical antibiotic therapy. Individual chapters within sections are devoted to particular diseases and cover pathogenesis and risk factors, microbial causes, clinical manifestations, approach to the patient (history, examination, and diagnostic studies), diagnostic criteria, and medical, antimicrobial, and surgical management. Essentials of Clinical Infectious Diseases also addresses important related topics including antimicrobial agents, medical microbiology, fever and neutropenia, approach to evaluating leukocytosis, infectious diseases approach to SIRS and sepsis, and basics of infection control and hospital epidemiology. With this book, readers will have at hand the fundamental knowledge necessary to sharpen the clinical problem-solving skills that every medical professional needs to provide quality care to patients.

Features of Essentials of Clinical Infectious Diseases include:

A detailed discussion of core infectious disease topics Antibiotic information specific to the disease process with adult, pediatric, and OB-GYN dosing considerations Basic infection control procedures for hospitalized patients Coverage of important related topics References to current literature and classic articles for further study A focus on clinical approaches to evaluation and management of the patient
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