Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Invincible Microbe

Invincible Microbe
By Jim Murphy and Alison Blank
Clarion Books, 2012.149 pgs. Young Adult Nonfiction

Award-winning author Murphy teams up with his wife to trace the history of tuberculosis and the treatment of the disease. For thousands of years, tuberculosis killed countless numbers of people, who sought any treatment they could get--from having their king touch them to heal them to blood letting. In the 1800s, with people not knowing how the disease was spread and guessing at treatments, the sanitarium movement was started, with towns actually recruiting people to come and stay in their sanitariums, giving rise to the "curing industry". And initially, when respected scientist Robert Koch discovered the germs that caused the disease--and their contagious nature--people didn't believe him and continued to turn to sanitariums and quack treatments. Once he did show that he had truly discovered the cause, a new search for the cure ensued; just as they seemed to have discover medicine to fight tuberculosis, however, drug-resistant strains began cropping up.

This book is jam-packed with interesting information, from the treatments, to the populations who were denied treatments, to the current conditions that could lead to additional outbreaks. Highly informative but still readable, this is an excellent piece of nonfiction.


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