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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)
Description: This midsized paperback book is a quick and useful reference for bench microbiologists.
Purpose: This is intended as a companion to larger and more comprehensive microbiology textbooks - i.e., to serve as a quick reference for the bench microbiologist in deciding how to further evaluate a culture isolate. This is a worthy objective and the author has succeeded in meeting it.
Audience: The author intends this book to help bench microbiologists, nurses, or physicians understand the flow of diagnostic tests in the microbiology laboratory for organism identification. I think it would also be useful to a larger audience — anyone (students and practitioners) in healthcare who interacts with the clinical microbiology lab as well as laboratory directors lacking ABMM/ABMI board-certified microbiologists who need to fill this void. The author is recognized internationally as an expert in this field.
Features: This relatively small book contains a wealth of information divided into three major sections. The first is a series of flow charts to assist bench technologists with organism identification. The flow charts begin with common characteristics (e.g., aerobic versus anaerobic growth, gram stain morphology, etc.) and provide detailed instructions on how to identify the specific organisms included in these large starting groups. A total of 13 flow charts (in only 25 pages) collectively cover all medically important bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Talk about concise and to the point! The second section (11 pages) discusses fastidious bacteria, lists reportable organisms and diseases and those most frequently reported, and details which type of susceptibility testing (disk vs. MIC) can be reliably performed on which organism (i.e., for which CLSI-approved interpretive criteria exist). The third and largest section alphabetically lists individual organisms or clinical disorders (e.g., "bronchitis") with accompanying information on antimicrobials (preferred drugs to use, preferred susceptibility testing method), tips for organism identification, and related comments. References and the index follow. Thus, in just one small book you will find very pertinent and useful information, exactly as the author intended. There are no pictures or detailed discussions of organisms since this book is intended to be a companion to the larger textbooks — and it is a very useful companion book.
Assessment: This is a pretty handy book to have readily available in the microbiology laboratory for everyday bench level microbiologist (and laboratory director) access. I recommend it.