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The book reproduces a symposium held near Cologne, Germany, in late October 1970. The first four chapters describe the shifts in the kinds of bacteria causing infections at the Boston City Hospital during the past four decades, in hospitals in Cologne during the past two decades, and in Heidelberg and Hamburg in the past decade. The fifth chapter describes changes in prevalence of pneumucoccal serotypes over different periods. The general observations are that pneumococcal and beta hemolytic streptococcal infections have diminished since the '40s, that staphylococcal infections rose to their peak prevalence and malevolence in the '50s with a subsequent decline, and that infections with gram negative bacilli have been increasing over the past two decades.
The possible basis of these changes is the intended theme of the remaining 13 papers. Some, such as the analysis of virulence and resistance of Staphylococcus aureus and the summary of resistance mechanisms in