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Despite the current and very real threat of global pandemics, there is a dearth of published book and reference resources on the subject. Much scholarly research is conducted and published in various journals. There are political analyses, and studies of the socio-economic impact. While healthcare professionals at national and international levels recognize the pressing danger, the introduction and establishment of consistent and effective countermeasures ranges from slow to non-existent. Politically, acquisition of funds to combat the "potential" doom of a speculative pandemic pales in comparison to societal demands of the worldwide "here and now." As in the most recent case of Zika, the disease "out there" can rapidly appear at our own doorstep "right here." Yet, despite vigorous globe-spanning debates that sounds promising, progress in creation of a universal anti-pandemic network is sporadic and inconsistent.
Pandemics: The Nature of an Emerging Global Threat seeks to address the numerous critical, but largely ignored issues, that limit our readiness, recognition, and response to pandemic outbreaks. The book stresses the reality and seriousness of the problem and the need to react and mobilize quickly, and "on the fly", rather than offering a ready-made solution. Individual chapters of the book are written by internationally known and very highly respected experts from the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, and South America. Many of the authors have their academic and medical prominence supported by the practical involvement at the very forefront of the war against pandemic outbreaks, and several know the personal pain that counter-pandemic operations involve. The authors are a cross section of professions involved in the fight against pandemics: some operate at the highest levels of national and international institutions, others work as clinicians specializing in infectious diseases, as scientists, specialists in public health, law and its enforcement, military aspects of pandemics or technology.
The importance of this book rest on the fact that all authors are active in their respective fields. They offer practical, life-long expertise from hands-on work on the "front lines." They have a profound knowledge of their field, and, as such, recommendations of best practices, theories about what methods work best in a given scenario and environment, and the political impediments to proper response and containment are all based on real, first-hand experience given has worked—and what has not—in responding to pandemics. The opinions, often highly personal and perhaps even controversial, are based as much on theoretical considerations as on their extensive and insightful experience. Hence, the approach is rigorously intellectual and, in a field that often evokes passions, equally rigorously dispassionate. It has to be so: in the modern world of pandemics "past is the prologue." While preparedness plans gather dust on cou