18 October, 2012

Gone Viral

Title: Gone Viral 
Author: Frank Bowden
Genre: Non Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

From Goodreads: Featuring 15 infectious diseases—eight bacteria, six viruses, and a parasite—and one friendly fungus, this book explores significant medical themes and highlights the effect micro-organisms have on modern life. Hilarious, informative, yet deeply moving, it discusses each disease while weaving true stories of patients and their families and the difficulties doctors face. Touching upon the swine flu, golden staph, SARS, hepatitis, and HIV, this account teaches crucial lessons about public health and the human experience of disease.

What I thought: Well the first thinkg I would say about this book is don't read it if you have a weak stomach! As an infectious diesease and sexual health specalist, some of Frank Bowden's descriptions are a little off putting to say the least!
I came to this book from a radio interview by Richard Fidler's excellent program called The Conversation Hour. (Australian's may know Fidler as 1/3 of the comedy trio Doug Anthony Allstars.) You can actually access the audio by clicking here.
I love when the way someone talks or is interviewed translates to their writing. Bowden was a very interesting speaker - giving a great mix of facts and anecdotes, with a humerous or thought provoking twist.
Most probably the scareiest thing I found about this book was the level of politicking that goes into getting funding for treatment programs. The eradication was made possible by governments agreeing to vacinate and treat in a wide spread program. There are so many diseases such as Chlamydia and Hepatitis C which are rife, especially in indigenous communities, that could be all but eradicated IF governments were willing to fund extensive comprehensive education, vaccination and treatment programs. While the cost of these programs is not insignificant, the long term savings from on going health care due to the original disease plus it's complications would be significant - to say nothing of the quality of life for many.
On the whole, Frank Bowden takes a subject that could be dry and boring and brings it to life. His balance of scientific information and real life examples gives the reader much to think about, laugh at and learn. Well worth tolerating a few stomach churning descriptions!

Challenges: Aussie Author Challenge