To understand infectious disease, one has to understand people, and how they live.
The strange and exotic become pedestrian when they show up on your doorstep. A disease may be extraordinarily rare in one era yet become commonplace one decade later. Epidemics, population shifts, and immigration patterns profoundly affect the spectrum of infectious disease we see. What a cat carries on its paws, how the Chinese prepare their fish, how households in Northern Africa store their grains, are all details which, because of the ‘‘smallness’’ of our world, ultimately affect what we see under our microscopes.