In The Coming Plague, Garrett takes readers on a 50-year journey of science's battles with infectious diseases. She chronicles the spread of malaria, Ebola, HIV and other infections and suggests how we might prevent "the coming plague." Her investigation is not only a scientific journey, but also is an examination of the relationship between the spread of disease, sociology, politics and prejudice.
A health and science writer for New York Newsday and a former science correspondent for National Public Radio, Garrett cites the careless use of anti-biotics and the effects of overpopulation, global warming and environmental degradation as important factors in the emergence of the devastating diseases. She also addresses how the shortsightedness of politicians and policy makers facilitates the spread of disease, especially in Third World nations where growing urban populations, poor sanitation and insufficient health services help to create perfect conditions for epidemics.
The Coming Plague was named "one of the best books of 1994" by The New York Times Sunday Book Review.
In 1996, Garrett was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. She is currently the president of the National Association of Science Writers.