Infectious Diseases Handbook

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Editorial Reviews

Larry W. Rumans
This is a rapid clinical reference designed to approach infectious diseases from multiple viewpoints relating to microorganisms, disease processes or clinical syndromes caused by these organisms, laboratory diagnosis relative to these diseases, and the clinical treatment regimen recommended based upon available antimicrobials. The editors "wish to make the most pertinent aspects of infectious disease readily available to all practitioners as an aid in their infectious disease endeavors." They also state that "accuracy, completeness and timeliness of each fact or recommendation presented were major goals..." These goals are met by an extensive cross-reference system between disease syndromes, individual microorganisms, laboratory diagnosis, and antimicrobial therapy, although each section may stand alone as a reference. This handbook is intended for use by a broad, general audience of healthcare providers -- "anyone who has the opportunity to diagnose, treat or care for patients with infectious disease" -- but will be most useful for primary care physicians, including family practitioners and ancillary healthcare personnel (PAs, ARNPs). One hundred and sixty-six disease syndromes are identified. Extensive cross-referencing with regard to bacterial and or viral organisms associated with these syndromes, laboratory and radiologic studies useful in their analysis, and diagnosis and a listing of antibiotics and other therapeutic agents with a compilation of mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, adverse effects, dosage, drug of choice indication and pregnancy risk factors are provided. Particularly useful is the inclusion of a variety of topical agents and vaccines. The appendix isespecially helpful. It contains a number of guidelines derived from numerous sources, including USPHS, IDSA, and ACIP, post exposure recommendations for a variety of infections, and desensitization guidelines gleaned from the literature regarding usage of various antibiotics in hypersensitive patients. Also included are a number of helpful references for hard-to find items such as BSA, ideal body weight calculation, creatinine clearance estimation, temperature conversions, etc. Appropriate references to the literature are outlined but are brief of necessity. Obviously an extensive review cannot be accomplished in a handbook, and some subjects are treated lightly (TSS), while others receive too much attention (post-surgical meningitis). To a certain extent, the cross-referencing approach helps alleviate such shortcomings. This is a useful companion to other infectious disease textbooks and will serve as a quick, rapid reference with very localized comments regarding select areas in infectious disease. It may also serve as a guide to additional areas of interest in terms of diagnosis and treatment. It cannot be used as a substitute for an infectious disease text or literature review for a particular organism or diagnosis, and at 1,185 pages, it can hardly be carried in the pocket.
From The Critics
Reviewer: Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPM (St. John's Mercy Medical Center)
Description: This voluminous reference on infectious diseases attempts to cover a variety of aspects of this discipline ranging from diagnostic tests to treatment. Unique features include frequent cross-references to other sections of the book on the same or similar topics, and inclusion of a table on international drug names.
Purpose: The purpose, using the authors' own statement, is to provide "accurate," "timely," and "complete" facts about infectious diseases to be used in the diagnosis and treatments of patients with infectious diseases. The authors do not achieve these goals, particularly as they relate to the presentation of up-to-date material. Since the previous edition was published in 1999, one would expect updated sections covering a variety of ever-evolving topics. This is not uniformly the case, however.
Audience: The book is targeted towards physicians, residents, students, nurses, pharmacists, and essentially anyone who may be involved in the care of patients with infectious diseases. By necessity, the language is quite basic and easy to understand.
Features: The book covers a wide range of infectious diseases, related tests, and therapies. Although frequent cross-referencing is intended to provide additional information for a particular diagnosis, it also is a bit of liability in that readers have to constantly flip back and forth to find essential information. Examples of material that is not up to date include, on page 200, the statement that HIV is "now the leading cause of death among men aged 25-40," which has not been the case for several years due to the advent of HAART. The agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis is still "unnamed," despite the fact that Ehrlichia phagocytophilus has been implicated as an agent of this disease since the mid-90s. In the section on lumbar puncture (p. 513), no mention is made of the use of respiratory mask to reduce the risk of iatrogenic meningitis, as currently recommended by the Association of Practitioners in Infection Control. Some information is either inaccurate or incomplete. For example, in the section on Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (p. 300), it is stated that alternative therapies to co-trimoxazole should be used depending on susceptibility testing. It is well known that with this organism, in-vitro susceptibility may be misleading because of poor correlation with clinical outcome. In the section on RPR (p. 565), no mention is made of the utility of this test in monitoring infected patients for response to therapy, a major use of the test. There are also some factual inconsistencies. In the section on FDA pregnancy categories (p. 15), third generation cephalosporins are classified as "controversial" (no references, and specific sections on these antibiotics elsewhere do not mention it). Mentronidazole is considered "acceptable," but does not include a cross-reference to p. 866, which states that this drug may be contraindicated in the first trimester.
Assessment: Although the authors' goal of providing comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate information regarding a broad range of infectious diseases topics in a handbook format is laudable, the book suffers from frequent lack of current information (e.g. last 2-3 years), important omissions, and inaccuracies. Since the previous edition was printed in 1999, one should at least expect inclusion of more current information that was available in 1998. The authors should take more time and care in ensuring that the information provided is useful, accurate, and relatively up-to-date in future editions.
From The Critics
This small (4.5x8") handbook for health care professionals involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with infectious diseases is arranged in four sections: disease syndromes; organisms; diagnostic tests and procedures; and anti-microbial therapies. New to this edition is an international brand name index, as well as updated information on drugs, tests, syndromes, and other information. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

2 Stars from Doody
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