Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria? by Robert S. Desowitz
Torrid Diseases in a Temperate World

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Synopsis

An instructive, often humorous, chronicle of how the worms and germs of the tropical world have made and are making their way north. We live in a fool's paradise, comforted, despite all evidence to the contrary, that we are insulated from the scourging microbial and parasitic diseases of the tropics. Yet past and present history reveals that many of the "classic" tropical diseases are, in reality, temperate too yellow fever in Philadelphia, the Ebola virus in Maryland and Virginia, and the Mexican pig tapeworm in Brooklyn. Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria? traces the origin of these extraordinary, but by no means isolated, cases. Did the crew of the Santa Maria bring syphilis (Pinta) back from the New World? Did Charles Darwin suffer a protracted illness and eventually die from the bite of an assassin bug while traveling through Argentina? Writing with enthusiasm and from wide medical experience, Dr. Robert Desowitz is a veritable Sherlock Holmes of parasites and pathogens. Spanning a human history of over 50,000 years, Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria? also looks ahead to the constant dangers of microbial diseases of unprecedented savagery"Doomsday bugs" creeping into the industrialized world.
 

About Robert S. Desowitz

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Robert S. Desowitz, a leading epidemiologist, is the author of "New Guinea Tape Worms and Jewish Grandmothers" and "The Malaria Capers", among other books. He lives in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
 
Published May 1, 1997 by W W Norton & Co Inc. 256 pages
Genres: Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Coming ecological-epidemiological shifts may bring some bad times--global warming creates a wonderful world for insects and the diseases they carry--and our present antibiotic agents have already begun to fail us, Desowitz concludes somberly.

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Many deadly diseases--yellow fever, malaria, hookworm and tapeworms among them--are associated in the public eye with squalid conditions in underdeveloped tropical countries.

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