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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J. Papasian, Ph.D., D (ABMM)(University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine)
Description: This is the sixth edition of a comprehensive review of clinical microbiology, from administrative issues and laboratory safety, to detailed methods for phenotypic characterization of microbial isolates, to molecular techniques including DNA sequencing. The previous edition was published in 1997.
Purpose: The goal is to provide a comprehensive yet practical text in diagnostic microbiology. Although there are several other fine books in diagnostic microbiology, this book, in all its editions, has been an outstanding contribution to the field.
Audience: This book will be of significant value to any individual who requires a working knowledge of diagnostic microbiology. This audience includes directors and supervisors of diagnostic microbiology laboratories, infectious disease clinicians, medical technologists working in microbiology labs, and pathology residents, infectious disease fellows, and postdoctoral fellows in medical and public health microbiology. At over 1,500 pages, the book may be a bit too informative for undergraduate medical technology students. Two new, outstandingly qualified, authors have been added to the sixth edition, joining an already exceptional group.
Features: The book begins by presenting information about the role of diagnostic microbiology labs in healthcare, progresses to an introduction to infectious disease issues of pertinence to diagnostic microbiologists, including critical information about specimen selection/collection and the potential complexity of interpreting microbiology laboratory results. This is followed by an excellent review of culture-independent techniques currently available to microbiologists. Most of the remaining 1,300 pages are related to groups of medically important microbes. These sections are all well developed, but the chapters dealing with bacteria are particularly detailed. Pedagogically useful diagrams and photographs are strategically interspersed throughout the text to enhance educational value. There are few shortcomings, but one area which disappointed me somewhat was the quality of photomicrographs in the mycology section. Overall, however, the illustrations and photographs are of high quality.
Assessment: I love this book, and always have. I used the first edition to help me learn microbiology in 1980 and thought it was outstanding then. Each subsequent version grew in quality, comprehensiveness, and pages. Microbiologists can never get enough information. There is always some microbe that produces a diagnostic dilemma that just isn't resolved with the references you consult. This book tries to resolve virtually all of those potential problems for you in a very practical format, and accomplishes this task as well as, if not better than, any other single text in the field.