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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Russell W Steele, M.D.(Ochsner Clinic Foundation)
Description: This is essentially an abridged pediatric infectious disease hardcover book, one of four in this Pediatric Practice series. It is not as complete as a textbook nor does it contain the abundant ready reference tables characteristic of softcover handbooks. Rather, it is something in between.
Purpose: It is intended to provide primary care physicians, both office- and hospital-based, a practical and evidence-based resource to diagnose and treat commonly encountered pediatric infections. However, the content appears more appropriate for physicians in training who would prefer a shorter text to learn basic aspects of this subspecialty. Missing for the primary care provider are easy to locate management options, particularly antimicrobial selection and duration of treatment. Most of this information is in the text.
Audience: Although the editor states that the target audience is the generalist pediatrician, it seems most suitable for a resident or student doing a one month rotation with a pediatric infectious disease specialist. At 768 pages, the trainee could read 25 pages a day during the rotation and cover all the material.
Features: The book is unique in the way it is divided into four parts covering laboratory diagnosis and general aspects of infection control; signs and symptoms of disease; infections by anatomic location; and miscellaneous issues. This format, however, along with a rather incomplete index makes it difficult to find specific information in a practical fashion. The book is quite colorful and contains excellent photos. Some of the chapters also have useful algorithms, although often incomplete or dogmatic in style, e.g. the algorithm for acute otitis media offers no option other than "wait and see" for the infant over 6 months of age. Critically missing are tables that clearly summarize management options. Antibiotic choices are often incomplete; the only third-generation cephalosporin generally recommended is cefotaxime, yet many physicians prefer ceftriaxone for its convenient once-a-day dosing.
Assessment: This is a well written book with complete bibliographies. However, it will not be competitive with pediatric infectious disease books (e.g. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 6th edition, Feigin et al. (Elsevier, 2009), or the Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 28th edition (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009)) as a current reference for the management of patients. There are also a number of handbooks that offer information in an easier to find format.