Gone Viral: The Germs that Share Our Lives

Gone Viral: The Germs that Share Our Lives

Frank Bowden

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1742232736

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Featuring 15 infectious diseases—eight bacteria, six viruses, and a parasite—and one friendly fungus, this book explores significant medical themes and highlights the effect micro-organisms have on modern life. Hilarious, informative, yet deeply moving, it discusses each disease while weaving true stories of patients and their families and the difficulties doctors face. Touching upon the swine flu, golden staph, SARS, hepatitis, and HIV, this account teaches crucial lessons about public health and the human experience of disease.

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Australia was falling. Safesex education was funded and promoted by a commonwealth government and parliament possessed of an unprecedented – and probably never to be repeated – wisdom in the sphere of public health. Due to the introduction of needle and syringe exchange programs the infection rate among injecting drug users, who were believed to be the bridge between the gay and straight populations, remained less than 1 per cent. A new cohort of young, uninfected gay men moved onto the scene. To

finding meant that I could drain the air from his chest in a slightly more leisurely fashion. The nurse had set up a tray for the sterile pack which contained the necessary items for the insertion of an intercostal tube. The principle is straightforward – make a small hole in the chest and stick in a tube to drain the air out. But even the simplest medical procedure can go very wrong if not performed properly. After I applied an antiseptic solution to the skin on the side of his chest about 15 cm

virus can cause infection, while it takes a larger exposure to HIV to infect someone. The number of particles of a virus present in the bloodstream of a patient at any particular point in time is also an important factor in the risk of transmission. It is known that the number of HIV particles in a person’s bloodstream is highest in the few months just after infection occurs and then drops off for many years until it rises again when the immune system has become profoundly depleted. Treatment

after the worst was over and he always remembered the illness as one of the worst he had experienced. He had smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day since the war, but after he recovered he never smoked again. He died at the age of 81. Then for 40 years it was all quiet on the influenza front. There was a false alarm for a swine flu pandemic in 1975, but virologists believed that the next pandemic was not a matter of if but when. Drift, shift, replication and re-assortment There are three types of

still just emerging as a powerful research tool (see page 142). Before he’d left for the UK, Kit had been working at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne with Suzanne Garland and Sepehr Tabrizi, who had developed a method for detecting HPV in specimens from Pap smears. Since women who had never had sex did not have the test it was difficult to know how to collect samples from them for HPV testing. Kit was describing the problem to his parents over dinner one night – believe me, medical

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