Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth graduated first in ecology and then organized a six-month-long expedition to the Himalayas to study lesser wildlife there. Interested in cave life, she soon discovered that a lot could be learned from the brown deposits animals leave behind, as well as from watching creatures themselves. She spent a couple of years at Oxford University studying rabbit parasites, then entered medical school where her friends called her the Shit Doctor because of a continuing interest in parasites and poo. On completion of her studies, she was awarded a B.M.—a bachelor of medicine degree; this is equivalent to the American M.D. qualification.
She organized two research trips to Madagascar where dunes of bat guano hid rare species of invertebrates unknown to science. She also watched and photographed attractive creatures, completing the first-ever study of the endangered crowned lemur in the wild; this involved meticulous observations, and—of course—examinations of their emanations. Her first book, Lemurs of the Lost World, describes the Madagascar expeditions. Field studies in Peru continued on the ecology of excreta, and she worked where mounds of subterranean guano seethed with fascinating crawlies, and where spelunkers risked catching histoplasmosis and rabies.
She has lived in Asia for most of the last eleven years, working on various community health projects in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal; some of this work involved screening people for worms and also encouraging villagers to build and use latrines. She now lives with her husband and two sons in England where she teaches and lectures on travel medicine, works as a general practitioner, and enjoys the luxury of a home with three flush loos. Her two travel health guides, Bugs Bites & Bowels (Cadogan Guides) and Your Child Abroad (Bradt Publications), are published in the U.S. by Globe Pequot.