Bacteria and Viruses
by Peggy Thomas
Publisher: Lucent Books
Edition: 1st., 2004
People do not realize how often they come into contact with bacteria and viruses. These microscopic organisms are in the air, on the surface of this book, and inside people’s bodies digesting their last meal.
Most people do not fully appreciate that microbes are responsible for the oxygen they breathe, the healthy vegetables on the kitchen table, the pungent cheese in the refrigerator, the clean clothes in the closet, and the clean water coming through the plumbing. Every aspect of people’s lives and every part of the natural world is affected, for better or worse, by the actions of bacteria and viruses.
And the worst comes in the form of disease. Even though the overwhelming majority of the encounters with microbes go unnoticed, people are quick to respond when a run-in gives them a runny nose, fever, upset stomach, or more severe symptoms. Some bacteria and viruses cause such pain and devastation that they become headline news. Every year novel microbes are discovered and new infectious diseases emerge. It is not big news when a new bacterium is discovered living harmlessly in the soil, but it is broadcast when a virus mysteriously crops up out of nowhere and killsunsuspecting victims.