August 21, 1987

Introduction to the History of Medical and Veterinary Mycology

Author Affiliations

University of Chicago

University of Chicago


by G. C. Ainsworth, 228 pp, with illus, $49.50, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1986.

JAMA. 1987;258(7):971-972. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400070109049

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Medical mycology is one of the minor leagues of infectious diseases. Although one group, the ringworms, are common among all human populations and their domestic animals, they are more a nuisance than a life-threatening condition. The other infections have been rare and isolated, until the present day of opportunistic fungus infections in immunecompromised hosts. Nevertheless, this area of medicine has defined its own discipline with its own traditions that alter with time, and medical mycology also has an interesting and illuminating history of development.

Professor Ainsworth is well versed in writing scientific histories: he has an excellent volume on the general field of mycology and one on the emergence and development of plant pathology. This present entry is essentially the first by any author to be written on medical mycology. As Ainsworth notes, medical mycology is a field of the 20th century. Although the fungal etiology of disease was noted