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From The CriticsReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: As the subtitle indicates, the editors seek to address both principles of control and the practice of biosafety with this book.
Purpose: The fourth edition broadens the original scope of the book in the wake of recent untoward events, e.g., the 2002 anthrax letters. It also addresses Select Agent regulations disseminated by the Unites States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Notwithstanding other good journal articles and useful websites, this book is a complete syllabus of pertinent information.
Audience: The editors indicate that it should be used as a resource by biosafety professionals, those who teach, and those who work with pathogenic agents in research, production, and teaching. More than 50 authors contribute the 33 chapters.
Features: Since publication of the third edition, editors Fleming and Hunt have insisted on a useful update to each chapter. This is readily apparent in chapters addressing laboratory variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and infectious disease epidemiology, among others. The book's major sections are organized along the lines of hazard identification (microbial flora, agents, laboratory considerations, and epidemiology); hazard assessment (risk assessment, bacterial pathogens, protozoal, helminthic, mycotic and viral agents, airborne issues, cell lines, allergens and biological toxins); hazard control (design, primary barriers, personal protection, standard precautions, prudent practices, decontamination and shipping biological materials); administrative controls (biological safety program management, compliance, occupational medicine, and measuring effectiveness); and special considerations (biosafety of prion diseases, safety for BSL-4, biosafety and viral gene transfer factors, biosafety in the teaching laboratory and in the pharmaceutical industry, large-scale production of microorganisms, special considerations for agriculture pathogen biosafety and regulatory impacts).
Assessment: There is little doubt that there is a considerable demand for this material. The field of likely coverage, e.g., teaching laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry, large-scale production facilities, and those involving agricultural pathogens is similarly vast. Many of us have at least seen earlier editions, if not used them. Broadly written books devoted to microbiology, infectious disease, or even occupational health are certainly not a good substitute for this book. I think it will find its way into nearly every regulated facility (and most are these days!). I can envision it will be read in its entirety by biohazard specialists, but be of use to a much broader panel of professionals, including physicians, microbiologists, veterinarians, and industrial hygienists, both in the U.S. and abroad.