Federal Body Snatchers and the New Guinea Virus: Tales of Parasites, People and Politics, by Robert S. Desowitz. W.W. Norton & Company, New York. 2002. 262 p. ISBN 0-393-05185-4.

The first chapter of this book is the story of the entry of the West Nile virus into the United States. It is a troubling account of scientific competition and poor planning and asks the question: are we really ready for a major infectious disease epidemic or a bioterrorist attack? From this first chapter, Professor Desowitz then goes on to cover such topics as “DDT, Our Friend or Foe,” “Malaria Vaccine(s) at the Expense of Other Control Measures,” “African Trypanosomiasis, Drug Companies, Profits and Politics,” “Research Patents and Scientific Ethics,” “Global Warming,” and in the final chapter, “Cryptosporidiosis, Our Troubled Waters.” If these seem like a jumble of different subjects, they in reality are not. For...

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