The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. Coronavirus is here and before it we heard about Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses and people in Australia―but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern.
The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. In his new book, "Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, Science" journalist David Quammen tracks this subject around the world. He recounts adventures in the field―netting bats in China, trapping monkeys in Bangladesh, stalking gorillas in the Congo―with the world’s leading disease scientists.