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Books, Journals, New Media
March 23/30, 2005

Medical Microbiology

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;293(12):1521-1525. doi:10.1001/jama.293.12.1522

A few years ago it was my duty to give the annual, one-hour lecture to the second-year medical students on “The Normal Flora.” Not only was this the only activity during the microbiology course devoted to the 1.25 kg, 1014 microbial cells inhabiting our bodies, it was probably unique in the entire 4-year curriculum. Alas, because of either my uninspired recitation of organisms or the pressure of curriculum revisions, even that hour soon disappeared.

Times have changed, and this outstanding textbook heralds a holistic approach to microbiology. In this remarkable single-authored text, Professor Wilson (University College, London, England) describes the human ecological system, inhabited by 10 times as many microbial cells as human cells, all living in various states of commensalism, synergism, mutualism, competition, predation, parasitism, or simply neutral tolerance.

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