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Emerging Infectious Diseases: Trends and Issues.

Edited by Felissa R. Lashley PhD, RN, FAAN, and Jerry D. Durham, PhD, RN, FAAN; New York: Springer Publishing, 2002; 496 pages, $58.95

Suitable for undergraduate and graduate students in nursing and other health professions, this up-to-date and readable book covers the 17 most prevalent infectious diseases. With its broad overview approach and inclusive but easy format, it can also be used as a quick reference by academics and clinicians who have a special interest in historical and current trends in infectious disease.

The book is divided into three parts, each containing several chapters. Among the contributors are nurses, physicians, and other health practitioners who have played a leading role in the field. The first part of the book establishes a foundation for the proper understanding of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in terms of their continuously evolving nature. Three chapters focus on the dynamic nature of infectious diseases, factors that contribute to their spread, the issue of microbial resistance, and the categorization of emerging diseases according to their infectious agents and modes of transmission. A chapter on antibiotic microbial resistance, which deals with trends, influencing factors, and recommendations for the future, is particularly timely.

Part 2 consists of 17 chapters covering specific diseases. Each chapter focuses on the history of the disease, past and current trends, issues relevant to spread and control, and, in several instances, the critical importance of detection and management. The use of diverse presentation styles--historic narratives, case studies, pure science--by the different contributors is especially well done, keeping the reading dynamic and interesting. The presentation of a wide range of infectious diseases, including drug-resistant microrganisms and diseases recently reported in the United States, such as West Nile Virus, makes this section especially valuable.

The third part of the book effectively tackles special issues related to emerging infectious diseases, such as cancer, chronic diseases, bioterrorism, cultural and behavioral aspects of transmission and infection, and considerations for the future. Linking emerging infections and certain populations, such as oncology patients, patients with chronic illnesses, and travelers, provides a contemporary view, based on research findings and scientific evidence, of the relationship among agents, genes, and the environment.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have demonstrated that the threat of bioterrorism requires heightened awareness and preparation by public health agencies and personnel. Therefore, the discussion of bioterrorism--its history, potential dangers, microbial agents used in biological weapons, and counterterrorism resources--is appropriate and timely. The use of "a fictional, but plausible scenario" to convey the scope of damage that can occur is particularly effective for illustrating how bioterrorism constitutes a public health issue requiring serious consideration.

The final chapter of this book forecasts the future of emerging infectious diseases based on current and predicted ecological changes. Four appendices contain useful information on the classification of emerging infectious diseases based on organisms, modes of transmission, and prevention strategies. A comprehensive list of resources includes valuable information on private and government organizations and links to useful websites.

reviewed by Maher M. El-Masri, MS, RN, assistant professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and PhD candidate, School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore.
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Author:El-Masri, Maher M.
Publication:Nursing Education Perspectives
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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