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Congenital and perinatal infections. Edited by M-L Newell and J McIntyre. (Pp 342; paperback; £37.95 (US$ 59.95).) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-52- 78979-6.
There are a number of books available on neonatal infections. What does this book offer that is new, apart from renaming the subject? The authors preface the book by saying it is not intended as a reference book, but as a concise up to date review.
It is really a series of reviews, written by a range of experts from Europe, South Africa, North and South America. There are strong chapters on maternal immunity and infection and, although there is some overlap of content, these are illuminating. The chapters on specific infections are certainly up to date, and include 1999 references.
HIV-1 infection and group B streptococcal infections are covered well, but the chapters on papillomavirus and hepatitis viruses are longer, whereas other bacteria such as staphylococci and Gram negative bacilli are not covered.
One of the book's strengths is that developing countries are not ignored, although a chapter on the particular problems in these countries would have been even more valuable. The weaknesses include the cursory attention to neonatal bacterial infection and to the management of a baby with possible or proven sepsis, and the paucity of figures.
This book will sit on my shelf until I am asked a thorny question about HIV or toxoplasmosis, when I will use it as an up to date source of information. It is unlikely to gather much dust.