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Collins CD, Kennedy DA. (£45.00.) Butterworth Heinemann, 1999. ISBN 0 7506 4023 5.
This is the fourth edition of this excellent book, which is found on the shelves of most microbiology laboratories in the UK. In the 16 years since the first edition it has grown from 13 to 19 chapters to take account of recent developments in infections and agents such as new variant CJD, risk assessment, and European regulations and recommendations.
The book is full of practical advice on avoiding laboratory hazards, such as aerosol generation and sharps injury, as relevant now as in the days before disposable equipment and test formats. It also provides a fascinating list of published reports of laboratory acquired infections and is the standard UK reference source for these.
The strength of this book lies in its detailed coverage of all aspects of laboratory practice and management, which is backed up by reference to appropriate health and safety regulations or guidelines. For example, there is an excellent comprehensive chapter on safety cabinets and a helpful section on transport of isolates and samples, although the latter does not discuss the recent UK post office changes.
Some of the references are a little out of date, such as 1982 for a text on bacterial pathogenesis, and there are occasional errors, but the overall quality of the book is as high as ever.
Everyone working in a laboratory setting should have to read this book, especially those with little experience of working with viable organisms or clinical samples, such as those taking up genetic manipulation work. It remains thoroughly recommended.
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