This is an excellent guide to office and laboratory microbiology that should be of use to students, dermatology residents, and established dermatologists. The photographs of arthropods provided by Dirk M. Elston are the best photographs of this kind that I have seen anywhere—they should be invaluable to residents studying for board examinations. The step-by-step carefully illustrated sections demonstrating the best techniques for obtaining Tzanck smears, Gram stains, and scrapings for molluscum bodies should be especially useful to students and residents. There are excellent photographs of fungal cultures and culture mounts with concise, capsule descriptions of the organisms. These too should be invaluable for those studying for board certifying examinations. There are occasional photographs of the cutaneous lesions these microorganisms cause, but the thrust of the book is making microbiology accessible to the clinician. Atlases and texts with clinical photographs are plentiful. The atlas is a very readable, beautifully illustrated guide to the identification of the viruses, fungi, and parasites important to the clinical dermatologist and will fill a significant niche in the clinician's library. The book is adequately indexed. All sections, except the otherwise excellent mycology section written by Dennis Babel, contain a few selected references. If this volume has a weakness, it is that it is incomplete; leishmaniasis and leprosy receive only scant attention and human papilloma virus is omitted. The binding is not of the highest quality—the copy I have been carrying around for 10 weeks shows definite signs of wearing poorly. However, to recapitulate, An Atlas of Microbiology of the Skin is a highly worthwhile volume. This book deserves to be praised for what it covers, rather than criticized for occasional omissions. Every dermatology department should own a copy (or two).
Matthew J. Stiller. An Atlas of Microbiology of the Skin. Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(10):1387. doi:10.1001/archderm.138.10.1387