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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Grace M Auten, MD (Piedmont Infectious Diseases Consultants, PA)
Description: This pocket-sized handbook is a convenient reference for primary care providers who care for travelers. Initial chapters describe the rationale for the need for a travel medicine handbook by reviewing studies about illnesses in travelers. The book then presents in an organized fashion the pretravel consult, travel-related vaccines, environmental hazards such as altitude and extremes of temperature, special concerns for pregnant, HIV-positive, pediatric, or ill travelers, evaluation of the healthy or sick returned traveler, and health screening of immigrants and refugees. There is also an extensive review of travel-related diseases, geographic risk, and parasitic drugs.
Purpose: The authors describe the book's purpose as providing a ready reference for travel-related medical advice. In the preface, the book is described as a starting point, not intended to be a comprehensive reference. However, the detailed descriptions are indeed comprehensive enough to provide excellent travel medicine consultations, as long as real-time resources (such as CDC information and other resources listed in the appendix) are also used. This convenient reference is a practical addition to the resources used by healthcare professionals who provide travel-related medical care.
Audience: The target audience is the North American physician who is providing travel-related medical care. The authors indicate a hope that the growth of travel medicine will stimulate attention to the global impact of tropical diseases. This reference is a convenient resource for general pre-travel advice. For the evaluation of sick returned travelers, the book will be most useful in the generation of differential diagnoses, along with guidance for the work-ups and management decisions. The authors' and contributors' backgrounds are family medicine and infectious diseases.
Features: The rationale for travel medicine is presented by listing the statistics of health risks to travelers. Pre-travel issues are described as well as management of the returned traveler. Comprehensive descriptions of bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic, and other travel-related maladies are presented. The references are up-to-date and efficient. The few illustrations are black-and-white maps of diseases and tables of immunizations. As with any medical book, some advice is already outdated at the time of publication; for example, the advice regarding the Lyme Disease vaccine, which was removed from the market a few months ago. In order to present a highly compact product, abbreviations are prolific: there are 20 pages of definitions of abbreviations for the 299-page book.
Assessment: This colorful handbook fulfills the description of its title Primary care Essentials. In conjunction with current information from several resources and specific advice per country visited, this guide will be a useful reference for clinicians who provide travel medicine advice and who care for returned travelers.