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From The CriticsReviewer: Peter Katona, MD (UCLA School of Medicine)
Description: This book attempts to deal with the broad topic of biological weapons.
Purpose: The purpose is to educate physicians and epidemiologists on various aspects of bioweapons. This is a worthy objective and there is a great deal of excellent information in this book.
Audience: The intended audience is quite broad. The authors mention clinicians and epidemiologists, who are an appropriate audience, but those involved in public safety and policy should also be interested.
Features: The book covers the history of bioweapons, the agents, and then various additional miscellaneous but relevant topics. The history chapter makes several bold statements, like the greatest act of terrorism was the atomic bomb, and has too much biblical history. The discussion of agents depends entirely on the CDC's (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) categorization rather than the authors' own unique set of bugs, which is important since it locks readers into a predefined mindset in preparedness. Too much emphasis is placed on the importance of syndromic surveillance. Bold statements, like departments of health do not tend to have rigid hierarchies, are hard to justify. The chapters at the end cover an excellent range of topics.
Assessment: Although the book has a great deal of useful information, as a reference it does not add anything new to the literature nor does it try to make any new specific points on how to deal with preparedness or management of these outbreaks. The discussion about lack of adequate funding, for example, only mentions CDC and HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) grants although there are many other sources of funding available. There are few historical primary sources, but I understand the difficulty in finding them. In all, I enjoyed the book.