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From The CriticsReviewer: Whitney S Baker, BS, MPH(University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: Through recounts of lessons learned from the past coupled with up-to-date research data and current disease-fighting campaigns, this book acquaints readers with infectious diseases emerging out of Asia and threatening to be the next pandemic.
Purpose: It aims to shed light on why Asia has become a continual source of emerging infectious diseases, in a much needed attempt to improve pandemic preparedness and response efforts. While the book does not answer this question, the imminent threat of the next pandemic does seem to point to Asia as its source and thus, considering all emerging diseases, not only the H5N1 avian influenza virus, is necessary and crucial.
Audience: Epidemiologists in the field, policy makers for national pandemic preparedness plans, and public health students in the classroom can benefit from this book. While the editors are authorities in HIV/AIDS, the contributors who author the chapters credibly present the current situations arising out of Asia.
Features: With a focus on emerging zoonotic diseases, the book covers everything from the established HIV/AIDS virus to the new kids on the block, such as the henipaviruses. Effectively using minimal graphics and illustrations, the book provides lessons learned from the past, in hopes of applying this knowledge to newly emerging pathogens. The final part of the book covers lesser known emerging diseases, which is of great value to nonexpert readers. The chapters on SARS are well balanced, but other parts of the book fall short of expectations. The avian influenza sections have some overlap, as well as one poorly written chapter that proved difficult to read. The section on HIV/AIDS is short, with only two chapters, one of which (written by the book's editors) is a comprehensive overview of HIV/AIDS that does not address the situation in Asia. The second chapter is specific to China.
Assessment: Even without answering the question that gave birth to this book, overall it provides a sound reference for the current status of infectious diseases in Asia. Although best used in conjunction with other books in the field, epidemiologists and students can benefit by adding this to their list of resources.