An important and fascinating book
In moments of quiet reverie i often find myself wishing i could dance like astaire, or maybe sing like sinatra, or perhaps compose like gershwin. but in truth, i'd happily settle for being able to write about science and medicine as well as does maryn mckenna. while chock full of scientific information, superbug reads more like a fast-paced medical thriller than a science book. maryn writes so vividly, that when she takes you into the icu (which is often), you can all but smell the antiseptic. superbug manages to deliver an enormous amount of scientific data almost painlessly by incorporating it into the stories of people (and their families) that mrsa has devastated, or those are trying to understand and stop its spread. i can think of a great many superlatives to describe this book; engaging, harrowing, fascinating, powerful . . . even terrifying at times. but the descriptive term that keeps coming back to me is: important. there is probably no graver health threat facing the world today than the rise of antibiotic resistant pathogens. and it isn't just mrsa. there's vrsa, vre, visa, acinetobacter and others. the way we use (and misuse) antibiotics in humans, and on the farm, plays a huge role in our ability to deal with infections today and in the future. as maryn points out, we need to make changes in hospital procedures, community health care, farming practices, prisons, and antibiotic awareness if we are to combat these emerging superbugs. superbug, quite frankly, should be required reading for every doctor, nurse, and health care professional, if for no other reason than to alert them to the changes they must make in order to help curb the spread of these deadly pathogens. but it should also be on the reading list of parents, students, and teachers who need to be able to recognize the early warning signs of infection. and just as importantly, read by those who make policy at the local, state, and federal level. we either make institutional changes or risk serious peril from these resistant bacteria. this is a book i will keep, and i am certain, will re-read and refer to often. even if you don't normally read `science books', you should take the time to read this one. superbug is not only a fascinating book, it's an important one.