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Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground [Hardcover]

Tom Koch

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“In Disease Maps, University of British Columbia medical geographer Tom Koch explores the rich history of using maps to visualize epidemics, from early attempts to chart the menace of plague as it raced across medieval Europe and John Snow’s iconic cholera maps of the 19th century to modern-day depictions of cancer clusters and the spread of AIDS. Festooned with great old illustrations, maps, diagrams, and charts from outbreaks past, Disease Maps urges the reader to witness the genius and folly of the past in order to better map the epidemics of the future.”

(Scientist 2010-04-04)

"Remarkable. . . . If most people are ever inclined to think about disease mapping, it’s usually in relation to John Snow’s map of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak in London. Snow, we’re told in the usual triumphalist account, transcended medieval theories of disease transmission . . . ; he plotted cases on a street map, found they centered on a water well, removed that well’s handle, and saved lives. Koch demolishes this history of medical mapping with vicious relish. The result is a marvelous reverse-detective story."—Boston Globe

(Boston Globe)

"Map geeks, get excited. Tom Koch, a medical geographer in British Columbia, traces the history and contemporary applications of epidemic mapping. . . . The book contains maps of an 1819 yellow fever outbreak in New York, the spread of HIV across America in the 1980s, West Nile virus during the 2000s and dozens more."—Washington Post
(Washington Post)

Disease Maps is an extraordinary visual and narrative treat. I have come to look forward to Tom Koch’s books for the wonderful and unique way that he can synthesize data and present it visually and in the process tell us magnificent stories.”

(Dr. Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone 2010-10-21)

“This is a masterful book in conception and structure. It is also extremely well written. What we find on reading is an exquisite telling of the history of the medical science of disease. The collection of medical maps, diagrams, and other illustrations is impressive in scope—there are many disease maps shown that have not been publicly available before or collected in one place.”

(Michael Friendly, York University)

"This unconventional history charts the rise of epidemiology by examining how maps have been used to follow the spread of disease."—Science News


“[Disease Maps] is in many ways a fascinating book, not least in illustrating the beneficent power of the often unfairly maligned statistical method.”
(Literary Review)

"Elegantly written and richly illustrated. . . . Disease Maps is a sumptuous exploration of epidemics of the distant past and the geographical analyses that explained and transformed them. Well-written and replete with detailed, archival maps of episodes of bubonic plague, cholera, and yellow fever, it will delight and inform those who are fascinated by epidemics or those who are simply curious about how doctors of the past attempted to understand and to combat once seemingly cataclysmic events."

(New Republic)

Disease Maps is an impressive book that delves intothe spatial component of disease understanding. Kochprovides a multidisciplinary compilation of material thereader will notfind elsewhere. His writing style is engaging and provides a broad scope that should be appealing to a variety of audiences.”
(Frances Currin Mujica, University of South Alabama Cartography and Geographic Information Science)

About the Author




Tom Koch is adjunct professor of medical geography at the University of British Columbia; director of Information Outreach, Ltd.; and a prolific writer, researcher, and public speaker specializing in the fields of, gerontology, bioethics, medical cartography and public health. He is the author of fifteen books, including most recently Cartographies of Disease.


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