This is the only book that tells both sides of the story of germs: that they are critically important for our health and that the dangers of emerging pathogens continue to wreak havoc in our bodies and around the world. With straight-forward and engaging writing, infectious diseases physician Phillip Peterson surveys how our understanding of viruses has changed throughout history, from early plagues and pandemics to more recent outbreaks like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and the Zika virus.
Microbes also takes on contemporary issues like the importance of vaccinations in the face of the growing anti-vaxxer movement, as well as the rise of cutting-edge health treatments like fecal transplants. Peterson relays his first-hand experience dealing with an unprecedented emergence of new microbial threats. Yet at the same time he has witnessed the astounding recent discoveries of the crucial role of the microbes that colonize our body surfaces in human health.
Microbes explains for general readers where these germs came from, what they do to and for us, and what can be done to stop the bad actors and foster the benefactors.
Phillip K. Peterson, M.D. is professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he served as an infectious diseases specialist for four decades. He is a former director of the Infectious Diseases and International Medicine Division in the Department of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American College of Medicine and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. In 2011, Peterson was awarded the Gold Award for Distinguished Achievement in Research by his alma mater, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
"Dr. Phillip Peterson's book is of deep and enduring value. The global health community knows only too well the risk to humanity from microbes. There has been a lot of writing in the scientific community, but the public is confused. Microbes: The Life Changing Story of Germs will provide a major service in the US and globally, as it reaches millions of people who care deeply about this topic."
– Lawrence O. Gostin, Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Center of Public Health Law & Human Rights, Professor of Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and author of Global Health Law
"Dr. Phil Peterson has a lifetime of experience in studying how microbes interact with people. In Microbes: The Life-Changing Story of Germs, he shares his wisdom for a general audience, in a way that is both accessible and accurate. A very useful resource for a wide range of readers."
– Martin Blaser, M.D., Director, Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Henry Rutgers Chair of the Human Microbiome and the author of Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues
"From one celled organisms to One Health, Phil Peterson writes engagingly about the microbial world, which turns out to be far more complicated – and more comforting – than prior generations of scientists and physicians ever could have imagined. Yes, our species will constantly be challenged by new nasties like Zika and HIV, but Peterson makes clear why we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater – or even wash the baby so often in the first place."
– Craig Packer, PhD, Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Director, Lion Research Center University of Minnesota and the author of Lions in the Balance: Man-Eaters, Manes, and Men with Guns
"This book provides a bird's eye view of the fascinating world of microbial agents and will surely stimulate all curious readers to want to learn more about the microorganisms that we humans encounter in our daily lives. A must introduction into microbiology!"
– Johan S. Bakken MD, PhD, Former President, Infectious Diseases Society of America