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Dr Jeremy Brown, a veteran ER doctor, explores the troubling, terrifying, and complex history of the flu virus, from the surprising origins of the 1918 flu that killed millions, to vexing questions such as: are we prepared for the next epidemic, should you get a flu shot, and how close are we to finding a cure?
While influenza is now often thought of as a mild disease, it kills thousands of Australians each year. Dr Jeremy Brown, currently Director of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health, expounds on the flu’s deadly past to solve the mysteries that could protect us from the next outbreak.
In Influenza, he talks with leading epidemiologists, policy makers, and the researcher who first sequenced the genetic building blocks of the virus to offer both a comprehensive history and a roadmap for understanding what’s to come.Dr Brown digs into the discovery and resurrection of the flu virus in the victims of the 1918 epidemic exhumed from the tundra, as well as the bizarre remedies that once treated the disease, such as fatal doses of aspirin and blood-letting. Influenza also breaks down the current dialogue surrounding the disease, explaining the controversy over vaccinations, antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu, and the federal government’s role in preparing for a pandemic. Dr Brown warns that many of the most vital questions about the flu virus continue to confound even the leading experts.
Influenza is an enlightening and unnerving look at a shapeshifting deadly virus that has been around since long before people and will most likely be with us for a long time to come.
‘Brown smartly examines this viral infection from all sorts of angles – medical history, virology, diagnosis and treatment, economics and epidemiology‚ health-care policy, and prevention.’ (starred review)