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216 × 138 × 21 mm
256 pages
01 Oct 2012
  • £20.00

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Global Flu and You A History of Influenza George Dehner

We all know the signs: chills, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, coughing. But while the flu may seem harmlessly similar to the common cold, influenza results in between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths every year in epidemics that can spread rapidly around the world. In pandemic years, the disease can kill millions.

The recurrence of the Spanish flu virus, the appearance and spread of Bird flu and the unexpected Swine flu pandemic of 2009 have increased interest in and heightened concern about the dangers posed by flu. Drawing on his extensive research into influenza, George Dehner makes clear that such epidemics are not a new phenomenon: humans share a long, complex history with the influenza virus. This comprehensive book traces the animal origins of the disease and outlines the social and cultural changes that have enabled it, over thousands of years, to mutate and evolve to become the endemic threat to human health it is today.

In recent generations medical and scientific breakthroughs in studying and protecting against the virus have made rapid progress, providing governments with effective tools to safeguard public health. But modern social, demographic, economic and technological changes may also accelerate and amplify the impact of an influenza pandemic, potentially undermining the promise of these new protective strategies.

Exposing the facts and fictions surrounding this illness, Global Flu and You is a detailed but accessible read that will appeal to both the general and specialist reader.

‘In this very readable short book, Professor Dehner, a historian with a special interest in the pandemic influenza, provides us with a chronicle of flus emergence as a global health threat . . . very engaging and well written.’ — Royal College of Pathologists Bulletin

‘In these times of pandemic anxiety over bird flu and swine flu I can think of few better antidotes than Global Flu and You. George Dehner is that rare animal, a writer who understands the complex history and science of influenza and can explain those complexities to the general reader in an accessible and level-headed manner.’ — Dr Mark Honigsbaum, Institute and Museum of the History of Medicine, University of Zurich, and author of Enza: The Forgotten Story of Britain and the Great Flu Pandemic

‘At last, an accurate and accessible account of the history of influenza virus and the pandemics it causes.’ — Dorothy Crawford, author of The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses and Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped our History

‘In this timely book, Dehner not only explores the facts about the flu, but he also shatters many of the myths surrounding it . . . Global Flu and You provides a solid grounding for those interested in developing a broad non-technical understanding of the influenzas story and its implications for the future.’ — History in Review

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George Dehner is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Wichita State University, Kansas. He is author of Influenza: A Century of Science and Public Health Response (2012).


1. Know Your Enemy
2. The Murky Past of Influenza
3. Misidentifications and False Starts
4. The 1920s to the 1980s
5. Renewed Fears of Flu
6. Yet Another Surprise