Includes bibliographical references (p. -419) and index
Preface -- Acknowledgments -- Part I. The emerging menace. 1. The age of delusion -- 2. Unexplained deaths -- 3. The panic spreads -- 4. Emerging viruses -- 5. The special pathogens branch -- 6. The struggle for life -- 7. Deadly returns -- 8. The coming of Ebola -- 9. The hairs stood up on my neck -- 10. The world was lucky -- 11. The riddle of Ebola -- 12. Origins in nature -- 13. The stuff of nightmares -- 14. The widening gyre -- 15. The biological origins of AIDS -- 16. The aggressive symbiont -- 17. The tear in nature's fabric -- 18. Winning the battle -- 19. Virus X : the doomsday scenario -- Appendix : emerging infections -- References -- Index
The author takes the reader into the "hot zones" of today's most dangerous outbreaks, then into the research laboratories and hospitals, where he spotlights the scientists and doctors who are risking their lives to contain them. In telling this global story, he uncovers a frightening pattern -- and concludes that new, deadlier diseases are now waiting to emerge. Why do such plagues arise? Where do new viruses come from? Could there be -- will there be -- a Virus X, an incurable virus, as lethal as Ebola, spread as easily as the common cold? He has posed these questions to leading virus experts around the world, and here, combined with his own research, he presents a radical theory about the origins of these deadly microbes. Rejecting the assumption that new plagues arise by chance, he sees in them the purposeful programming of powerful evolutionary forces -- a process he calls "aggressive symbiosis."