One is often led to believe that mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and its companion diseases, dengue and chikungunya, are backward and rural diseases that have very little to do with urbanization and development. However, it is often just the reverse. These diseases have been around for over 500,000 years and continue to flourish even as we continue to progress as a race.
In The Fever, journalist Sonia Shah sets out to address this concern, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of malaria and its influence on human lives. Through the centuries, she finds, we've invested our hopes in a panoply of drugs and technologies, and invariably those hopes have been dashed. From the settling of the New World to the construction of the Panama Canal, through wartimes and the advances of the Industrial Revolution, Shah tracks malaria's jagged ascent and the tragedies in its wake, revealing a parasite every bit as persistent as the insects that carry it. With distinguished prose and original reporting from Panama, Malawi, Cameroon, India and elsewhere, The Fever captures the curiously fascinating, devastating history of this long-standing thorn in the side of humanity.