Journal of Hospital Infection (2007) 65, 186
BOOK REVIEW The Pocket Guide to Fungal Infection, 2nd edition M. Richardson, E. Johnson, Blackwell, 2006, ISBN 1405122188, £24.95, 192 pages. The first edition of this book, written by two internationally known mycologists, proved a welcome addition to the generalist’s library. In this second edition, the authors have now updated and extended the book and this process has largely been successful. This is a genuinely pocket-sized volume that is short (less than 200 pages) and well illustrated with clinical, microscopic and plate culture photographs. Sections are colour coded, thus making navigation straightforward, and each has the same format with pithy, mostly bullet-pointed, text. The approach is that of an AeZ of causative agents within clinical subdivisions, such as mucosal and cutaneous infections, and systemic mycoses. The new sections, such as that on molecular methods, could be criticized for failing to cover the subject adequately, but, in fact, they provide a ‘taster’ for the reader who can then choose to follow up on the subject if interested. However, the bibliography could be more comprehensive, particularly in faster moving areas such as molecular methodology. A short list of current international guidelines on management of specific conditions would be a welcome addition, although one of the authors has produced a useful book of guidelines, which is cited. One can understand why Richardson and Johnson have avoided an in-depth discussion of antifungal drugs in this short guide, but a section on the main drugs would be helpful to the uninitiated.
The issues of azole therapy, particularly drug interactions, are of frequent concern to those treating fungal infection and should at least be mentioned. Some of the management recommendations could also be challenged. For example, most doctors today would attempt to manage raised intracranial pressure in cryptococcal meningitis with repeat lumbar punctures. However, the authors have tried to remain uncontroversial, sticking to licensed indications for the most part. Critics should bear in mind that many of the treatment recommendations in the mycology literature are based on opinion rather than robust evidence. Sadly, change is inevitable, even in the field of mycology, and this book, along with many others, is already showing some signs of age. For example, the activities of the National Committee for Clinical and Laboratory Standards have now been subsumed under the auspices of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. In addition, the taxonomy of Cryptococcus neoformans has changed, with the advent of C. neoformans var. grubii. However, most of these criticisms are minor gripes and the authors are to be congratulated on improving an already worthwhile text. This book is ideal for the non-expert and it more than fulfils the role for which it was designed. C. Kibbler Royal Free Hospital, London, UK E-mail address: [email protected]
nhs.uk Available online 14 December 2006