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From The CriticsReviewer: John A. Robinson, MD(Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine)
Description: This is a new book by many prominent researchers in the area of tuberculosis. As noted in the title, there was a specific decision not to include treatment that may have some bearing on its overall acceptance, at least in the medical community.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide in one source an overview of the current state of understanding of tuberculosis: not only an epidemiologic viewpoint, but also new emerging concepts of molecular immunology and microbiology.
Audience: It is intended for microbiologists, perhaps epidemiologists and public health officials; infectious disease specialists will have some limited interest.
Features: The references are fairly current for this type of book.
Assessment: Unfortunately, the parallel between the early, almost hysterical, predictions and recommendations from some infectious disease and public health authorities about HIV infection have been paralleled by similar ones concerning the reemergence of tuberculosis and drug-resistant strains. This may have led the general medical community, already lulled into a false sense of security in the area of tuberculosis, to greet the recent announcement of the reemergence of this disease with more than the usual skepticism. Thus, the availability of new epidemiologic data and molecular immunology and microbiology of this dangerous pathogen is a useful wake-up call. The threat is real and the overall theme of this book emphasizes it. Sadly lacking is the spirited point and counterpoint discussion of the reemerging need for confinement, supervised treatment, and even sanitoria. Although the quality of the chapters is quite uneven, the ones on newer concepts of cytokines and T cells are remarkably current for this type of book. There is redundancy, especially in the area of biosafety; perhaps this is a minor flaw because it is an important issue. It is evident that the author has decided to consciously not include treatment as a part of this monograph. I suspect the sagacity of this decision will be lost on many an unwary reader frustrated in finding current concepts of treatment and its nuances, especially in drug-resistant strains. This deficiency somewhat diminishes the value of this book and limits its readership.