The Ecology of Human Disease

by Jacques M. May, M.D. 1st volume, 327 pages, illustrated. New York, N. Y., M. D. Publications, 1958. $7.50

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This book represents an effort to relate the various fields of geography, social sciences, and medicine. To achieve this the author has formulated a concept of “medical ecology,” in which disease is defined as a convergence in time and space, within the person of the patient, of varied environmental stimuli, resulting either in ecologic adaptation and survival or in total maladjustment and death. This volume is the first of three which will consider the more important transmissible, degenerative and behavioral diseases; this first one is concerned, as will be the second, with the transmissible diseases.

The first portion of the book presents definitions of terms and delimitations of areas of consideration necessary to the ecological descriptions of the specific diseases. The latter portion, approximately two-thirds of the volume, considers individually the ecology of a number of transmissible diseases (cholera, brucellosis, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, leprosy, shigellosis, salmonelloses, amebiasis, yaws, certain two-factor nematode infections of man, scarlet fever, measles, and trachoma).

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